The Dodgers will be without their starting shortstop for nearly the first two months of the season. MRI results on Hanley Ramirez showed a tear in the ligament that stabilizes his right thumb, and the shortstop will have surgery on Friday in Los Angeles. He is expected to miss eight weeks.
Ramirez injured the thumb while diving for a ball in the third inning Tuesday night of the World Baseball Classic final in San Francisco, while playing third base. The injury at the time was described as a jammed right thumb. Ramirez actually stayed in the game for two more innings and got a single in his next at-bat.
Ramirez flew to Phoenix on Wednesday for further examination, and the Dodgers were speculating he could miss anywhere from two to 10 weeks. After the surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Steve Shin, a hand specialist at the Kerlan Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles, Ramirez will have his right thumb immobilized for three weeks.
The Dodgers' options to fill in for Ramirez at shortstop are either moving Luis Cruz from third base to shortstop, or simply keeping Cruz at third and inserting Dee Gordon at shortstop. Moving Cruz to shortstop likely makes third base a rotation of Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Uribe, and Nick Punto.
The Ramirez injury also opens up an extra bench spot, either for Alex Castellanos to be the right-handed fourth outfielder if Hairston plays more infield, or another utility player who could play shortstop like Elian Herrera, who is on the 40-man roster or maybe Alfredo Amezaga, who isn't.