Hanley Ramirez injured his thumb during the World Baseball Classic final Tuesday night. The Dodgers starting shortstop appeared to jam his thumb diving for a ball at third and had to leave in fifth inning.
Hanley Ramirez played third base during the WBC for the Dominican Republic while teammate Jose Reyes played shortstop. The severity of the injury isn’t fully known, but, if it’s serious, it could put Ramirez’s opening day status into question.
Entering the new baseball season, the Dodgers have the highest payroll. Including Ramirez, Los Angeles also has a number of very expensive health concerns.
Acquired last year at mid-season, Hanley Ramirez will make $15 million this season. Carl Crawford, coming off of Tommy John elbow surgery, will make $20 million. Zack Greinke is battling elbow problems while getting paid $13.5 million. Finally, Matt Kemp is earning $10 million while recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Dodgers will be competitive when they’re healthy, but the last thing they needed was another health concern to worry about, especially with their starting shortstop.
Hanley Ramirez started last year as a Miami Marlin. In 93 games before being traded, he knocked in 48 runs. In his final 64 games, he looked like a brand new player and knocked in 44 runs.
The Dodgers need his offensive rebirth to continue. Now they might have to wait a little longer to know if it was a fluke or not.
There is good news though. Because Hanley Ramirez played in the WBC, he should have all his timing down to start the season and shouldn’t need much more spring training. If the Dodgers can let him rest the thumb, it should heal quicker.
This is all that is known right now about Hanley Ramirez’s injury:
Hanley Ramirez is waving a Dominican flag with his injured right hand — which is in a splint.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 20, 2013
The splint could just be a precaution. When a team is paying a player $15 million, it’s understandable if they are overprotective. Until more information is revealed, we won’t know.
Do you think Hanley Ramirez’s injury will keep him out of opening day? Was his mid season return to form a fluke for the Dodgers last year?