Hanley Ramirez will play tonight despite rib fracture; Andre Ethier also in lineup

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Contrary to the nightmare scenario of our last post, Dodgers fans will not be subjected to Michael Young at shortstop. After testing his rib fracture by fielding grounders and taking batting practice, Hanley Ramirez told reporters that he will be in the lineup tonight for Game 3 of the NLCS against the Cardinals.

Courtesy of the Dodgers’ Twitter account, here’s a look at the padding that Ramirez will be wearing under his uniform:

There’s no official decision on Andre Ethier yet, but Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register passes along word that he tested his ankle this afternoon and plans to tell Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that he wants to play. Having both Ramirez and Ethier back would be a big boost for a lineup which hasn’t scored a run in 19 innings.

UPDATE: It’s official. The Dodgers just announced that Andre Ethier will also be in the lineup.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.