Hanley Ramirez plan: Rest in September, play every day in October

Eric Stephen | True Blue LA

The Dodgers are 51-25 when Hanley Ramirez starts, and 40-43 when he doesn't.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are sticking to their plan of resting Hanley Ramirez in the final two weeks of the regular season, in hopes of having him ready to play every day in the playoffs. Ramirez is out of the lineup Friday night against the Rockies, but manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez would start on Saturday.

Sunday's regular season finale, however, is another story.

"On Sunday we'll see, if he really wants it," Mattingly said. "He's just not a guy for me that needs the timing, for any reason. I'll have him as healthy as he can be through the playoffs."

Ramirez has battled a dislocated thumb, a strained hamstring, and now an irritated nerve in his back. But when healthy he has been the Dodgers' best player, hitting .346/.401/.641 with 20 home runs and 25 doubles in 85 games.

But with a division in hand pretty much since the beginning of September, Ramirez has had time to rest. He has started just five of the last 14 games. But in October, Ramirez has been medically cleared to play every day, even if it means occasionally running at 70%.

"I don't think there is any doubt, unless something just totally goes wrong. He's played enough to know," Mattingly said. "He's pretty good about knowing what he can and can't do out there. I'm sure he's not going to want to come out once we get there. He'll accept all of this [resting in September] knowing this gives him the best chance to play every day [in October.]"

Notes

  • Andre Ethier had 15 at-bats in simulated games against Dodgers minor league pitchers at Camelback Ranch in Arizona on Friday, and will continue to get 10-15 at-bats per day through Monday before rejoining the team in Los Angeles. "It's a similar situation to what we were doing with Matt [Kemp], basically trying to get him as many at-bats as we can timing wise. Without the running part," Mattingly said.
  • Chris Capuano is healthy and available to pitch this weekend, though Mattingly said he wouldn't do anything special to force the left-hander into a game. He last pitched on Sept. 6.
  • The Dodgers will hold a workout at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday morning before flying to either St. Louis or Atlanta later that day (unless they happen to nab the No. 2 seed, of course).
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