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Hanley Ramirez Era Begins Wednesday In St. Louis

Hanley Ramirez dons his new cap and warmup gear. (<em>Photo: Jon SooHoo / LA Dodgers</em>)
Hanley Ramirez dons his new cap and warmup gear. (Photo: Jon SooHoo / LA Dodgers)

Lost in the hoopla surrounding the Dodgers' trade for Hanley Ramirez is that there is a game to be played Wednesday night against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Ramirez is in the starting lineup at third base, batting fifth.

So much for Ramirez playing shortstop for now, I suppose.

Aaron Harang gets the start for the Dodgers, looking to win his third consecutive decision. In three July starts Harang is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA with five walks and 14 strikeouts in 19 innings.

The Dodgers had their five-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday, as well as their eight-game winning streak against the Cardinals, and look to get back on track on Wednesday night against Kyle Lohse.

Lohse, looking for his 11th win of the year, has walked a career best 4.17% of batters he has faced this season, contributing greatly to his 2.71 ERA. Since the beginning of June Lohse has nine straight quality starts, allowing 14 total runs during that span for a 2.02 ERA.

Reliever Shawn Tolleson was optioned to Triple A to make room for Randy Choate, with Todd Coffey moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.

The Case For Webster

Earlier Wednesday, Ken Gurnick of speculated that Allen Webster could be in line to start Friday for the Dodgers in San Francisco, the start that was originally scheduled to go to Nathan Eovaldi. Webster isn't on the 40-man roster so it would require an additional move, but it makes sense.

Stephen Fife is on the 40-man and would be the logical candidate to make a second spot start, especially since he would be on four days rest Friday night. But he pitched for the Dodgers on July 17, and was optioned the next day later. By rule, a player can't be recalled within 10 days of an option unless replacing a player on the disabled list or bereavement list. For example, Shawn Tolleson was optioned on July 2 but was recalled one day later to replace the injured Coffey.

Friday is the 10th day since Fife was optioned, meaning someone would have to be placed on the disabled list for Fife to be eligible to return. Assuming the Dodgers don't trade for a starting pitcher by Friday, and given that John Ely would be on three days rest, Webster is likely the best choice in the organization.

Webster, one day older than Eovaldi, is 4-8 with a 4.06 ERA with Double A Chattanooga this season. But after a brief May sojourn into the bullpen, Webster has a 2.11 ERA with 17 walks and 46 strikeouts in 47 innings after returning to the rotation.

Adam Kennedy is still listed as an active player on tonight's bench, and not yet on the disabled list, so it could take a day or two. Perhaps Kennedy to the disabled list will be the technical impetus needed for Fife's return. Either way, someone in the bullpen will be off the active roster by Friday night to make room for Friday's starting pitcher.

Roster Move

The Cardinals promoted left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes from Double A Springfield and optioned Victor Marte to Triple A Memphis. Fuentes was released by Oakland on July 11 and signed a minor league deal with St. Louis three days later.

Starting Lineups

LF Abreu (L)
SS Furcal (S)
2B Ellis CF Jay (L)
CF Kemp LF Holliday
RF Ethier (L)
RF Beltran (S)
3B Ramirez
1B Craig
1B Loney (L)
C Molina
SS Cruz
3B Freese
C Ellis 2B Schumaker (L)
P Harang
P Lohse

Game Time: 5:15 p.m.


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