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Hanley Ramirez starts at SS for 2nd time in 11 games

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER -- Hanley Ramirez could barely run the bases on Wednesday, but has been cleared to return to the starting lineup on Thursday, hitting third and playing shortstop for the Dodgers in their series opener against the Rockies.

It is just the second start in the field for Ramirez in the last 11 games. He was first limited by a sore shoulder that caused him to miss four games. Ramirez started Saturday but lasted just two innings, felled by left calf tightness that limited him to three pinch hit at-bats in the last four games.

Scott Van Slyke gets the call in center field, his 22nd start in 22 games against left-handed pitchers this season. Van Slyke, who hit his first home run against a right-hander this season on Wednesday, is hitting .291/.451/.727 against southpaws this year, with six home runs, six doubles and 14 walks in 71 plate appearances.

Another lefty killer of late has been Matt Kemp, who has historically punished left-handed pitchers in his career (.332/.394/.551) but began the year just 8-for-62 (.129) with 18 strikeouts and just one walk against southpaws. But since June 7, Kemp is 10-for-22 (.455) against left-handers with three doubles, two triples, five walks and just two strikeouts.

Kemp is 3-for-9 (.333) with a home run against Rockies starter Franklin Morales, but that home run came in 2007 in a game started by Olmedo Saez at first base and Shea Hillenbrand at third base for the Dodgers.

Nolan Arenado is back for the Rockies, starting at third base and batting sixth. He missed 36 games with a fracture on the middle finger of his left hand.

The Rockies' corresponding move to add Arenado back to the active roster was to option Christian Friedrich to Triple-A, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Friedrich was scheduled to start the series finale on Sunday.