Hanley Ramirez returned on Wednesday from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for over a week.
Ramirez jammed his shoulder against the Cubs on Aug. 4, and has been limited to one pinch hitting opportunity in the past nine games. He struck out. Nick Punto (six starts) and Dee Gordon (three games) did admirable work filling in for Ramirez, especially at the plate. That duo combined to hit .424/.500/.606 (14-for-33) with seven RBI and six runs scored.
Ramirez, hitting .359/.410/.641 with 11 home runs in 55 games this season, is back batting cleanup on Wednesday against Dillon Gee. But bating fifth in center field behind Ramirez is Skip Schumaker and not Ethier, who is out for a second straight day.
Getting Hanley back was a must. The team performed great without him over a small sample but they’ll be hard-pressed to succeed long-term without his bat.
Matt Kemp continues to work out as he looks to return from a serious ankle injury.
Kemp worked out before Monday’s game with Stan Conte, vice president, medical services, running in a straight line and stopping. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Kemp was running at 60 to 70 percent, and Kemp appeared to be bothered by the ankle.
“Stan is looking for a little bit more explosion,” Mattingly said. “We’ve still got to get to the point where he’s able to stop and turn. That puts pressure on your ankle.”
Kemp also took early batting practice for the second straight day, spraying the ball to all fields with hitting coach Mark McGwire feeding the pitching machine.
“All the other stuff looks good,” Mattingly said. “He’s getting better. There are no worries about anything more than this thing taking a little bit of time. But we feel like we’re getting there.”
Kemp’s ankle is still bothering him, and the team shouldn’t rush him regardless of how well they’re playing. But the fact that the club is winning will give Kemp more time in his recovery process.
Andre Ethier missed a couple of games mid-week due to a calf injury.
Andre Ethier missed Tuesday’s game against the Mets with what was first termed as tightness in his left calf. But it turned around to be much more serious than a scratch from the lineup, as Ethier went to the hospital to have it checked out.
Ethier’s calf tightness stemmed from getting hit by a pitch on Aug. 4 at Wrigley Field, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Ethier said his calf hadn’t healed properly and he was sent to the hospital, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Per J.P. Hoornstra, Ethier was tested for a blood clot, and tests thankfully revealed there was not one present.
Ethier came back on Wednesday with a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth, so it seems like he’s just fine.
A.J. Ellis took a foul ball off his left kneecap in Friday’s game and was down for some time.
“We’ll have to see how he is tomorrow,” Don Mattingly said. “He got hit pretty squarely in the kneecap. It hit him pretty good.”
It was reported that he had no structural damage in the knee, and he later played that weekend. Still, it’s something to monitor going forward.
Shawn Tolleson, out since April due to back surgery, will begin a rehab assignment in Rancho Cucamonga.
The Dodgers bullpen figures to have a different look as early as Friday, with the potential addition of Brian Wilson. But come September there will be even more reinforcements. One of those could be Shawn Tolleson, who has moved his minor league rehab assignment to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Tolleson had surgery on April 25 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, and has missed nearly four months. He pitched one rehab game for the AZL Dodgers on Sunday, pitching one scoreless inning with a walk.
If healthy, Tolleson could be a difference-maker down the stretch.
Jose Dominguez is rehabbing in Arizona and is likely to return when rosters expand on Sep. 1.
Another returning reliever will be Jose Dominguez, who was placed on the disabled list on July 23 with a left quad strain. Dominguez, owner of the second-fastest average fastball in MLB at 98.5 mph, put up a 2.16 ERA in nine games, with four strikeouts and three walks in his first stint in the big leagues.
Dominguez has been rehabbing at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. His return schedule just happens to coincide with the timing of rosters expanding on September 1. How convenient.
“From the emails I’m reading, he’s still kind of going slow. He hasn’t really gotten to where he’s throwing off flat ground. He is just starting to play catch from a certain distance,” manager Don Mattingly said on Friday. “He’s been moving a little slow. If he was ready by (September) first that would be optimistic.”
Don Mattingly giving his opinion on when an injured player might return? Yeah, pass.