Dodgers give Hanley first start at short of season

Dodgers give Hanley first start at short of season

Dodgers give Hanley first start at short of season
LOS ANGELES -- In the fifth inning of Wednesday's game at Dodger Stadium, Hanley Ramirez made his return to shortstop for the first time this season. It appears as if he is going to be playing there from here on out until Dee Gordon returns from his thumb injury.

After starting at third base for his first eight games with the Dodgers, Ramirez was penciled in as the starting shortstop Friday with Luis Cruz moving to third base.

Prior to this season, Ramirez played solely shortstop since coming into the Majors in 2005. However, he was moved to the hot corner when the Miami Marlins signed Jose Reyes.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has said from the start that he wants Ramirez to play shortstop to open up more lineup options, but he wanted to make it an easy transition for the infielder. Before Friday's game, Mattingly said Ramirez told him he was ready to make the switch back to his original position.

"I've talked about it from the very beginning -- that's where I want Hanley to end up," Mattingly said. "Hanley at short gives me the freedom at third base to be able to use Jerry [Hairston], to be able to use Luis, to be able to use Juan [Uribe]."

He added it also allows him to use Cruz at second base to give Mark Ellis a day off here and there.

As for the long-term plan, Mattingly said he plans to move Ramirez back to third base once Gordon returns from a torn ligament in his right thumb.

On Thursday, Gordon had the pin removed from the spot of the injury and he said the team was pleased with how that went. The speedy shortstop also had his neon lime green cast removed, which he said was a big relief, and he's going to take the next week easy as he gets strength back.

Gordon, who said he still feels sore, will stay with the team for the rest of the current homestand before moving on to Arizona to rehab at Camelback Ranch.

He said he has a timetable for his return, but he opted not to reveal any more information about it than that.