Hanley back on bench after one-game return

Hanley back on bench after one-game return

Hanley back on bench after one-game return

PHOENIX -- Hanley Ramirez's return to the Dodgers' lineup lasted one game. On Wednesday night, he not only wasn't in the starting lineup, he wasn't even on the field for batting practice.

Manager Don Mattingly said it was "just part of the plan" for Ramirez to skip a game after returning from lower back nerve pain for the Dodgers' 9-3 win over the D-backs on Tuesday night, when Ramirez was on the bases four times and was removed in the eighth inning after scoring gingerly on Michael Young's triple.

Mattingly said Ramirez likely wouldn't play in Thursday's day game, another red flag on the shortstop's brittle condition.

"I don't think anybody feels Hanley's 100 percent," said Mattingly. "He's good today. He's a little sore body-wise and he's not playing. The key for us is to get him sharp."

Mattingly didn't downplay the shortstop's importance to a club he earlier left with thumb and hamstring issues.

"He's a pretty big chunk in the middle," said Mattingly. "He's a dangerous hitter who hits good pitching. He's played good shortstop for us. He is a force."

Nick Punto started at shortstop on Wednesday night.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.