Several hours before the Dodgers battle the Padres on Tuesday at Petco Park, shortstop Hanley Ramirez was out taking ground balls and doing baseball drills. He still has to do everything basically one-handed with a cast on his right hand, but that will be removed later this week.
Friday marks three weeks since surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, so Ramirez is progressing as expected. Ramirez was originally slated to be ready to return to playing for the Dodgers eight weeks from surgery, which would be May 17. Though the increased drills, even at substantially reduced intensity than normal, could help speed up the pace.
"He's actually been able to do quite a bit of baseball stuff. Hopefully that will shorten the timetable for when he comes back, to be sharper," said manager Don Mattingly.
Dodgers shortstops (Justin Sellers for five games, Luis Cruz for one) have combined for one hit in 20 at-bats so far, with a home run in the absence of Ramirez.
- Tuesday marks the first game in Petco Park since the fences were brought in in the power alleys. The left center field wall is now 390 feet from home plate, down from 402, and the right center field wall is now down from 402 feet to 391.
"I can see it from my hotel room, that it's a little shorter. It was pretty big before, and it's still going to be a big ballpark," Mattingly said. "It's still going to be a pitcher's park. There are some areas out there where you can crush it and it won't go out. As a hitter that bothers you a little bit."
- Josh Beckett is 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA in seven career starts against the Padres.
- Ted Lilly will start for Albuquerque on Wednesday night, the second start of his rehab assignment.
- Exactly 100 years ago Tuesday, Nap Rucker shutout the Phillies 1-0, giving the Dodgers the win in their new ballpark at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, Ebbets Field.
- Greg Vaughn, who hit 50 home runs for
my fantasy teamthe Padres in 1998, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch San Diego's home opener.
- The Dodgers are 40-41 all-time at Petco Park, but are 12-6 in San Diego in the last two seasons. The Dodgers have taken six of nine games against the Padres at Petco Park in each of the last two years and have not lost a road series to San Diego during that time.
- The Padres are 22-22 all-time in home openers, including 22-21 in San Diego (they played their 1999 opener in Monterrey, Mexico)
Time: 3:40 p.m. PT