If Hanley Ramirez wanted to turn the winter worries about his glove into idle speculation, he’s not off to a good start.
Playing his first game at shortstop in more than four months, Ramirez committed an error in the eighth inning that cost his team two runs in an eventual 6-4 loss to Puerto Rico at the Caribbean Series today.
The Dominican Republic was leading 4-2 with a runner on first base when Jesus Feliciano came to the plate with two outs. Feliciano fell behind 0-2 when, according to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter),
Just the facts: Hanley ranges to his left, kicks grounder into shallow center field, goes to retrieve it, falls on his butt. #CaribSeries
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) February 4, 2013
Feliciano reached second base on the play. The next batter, Rey Navarro, stroked a two-run single to tie the game at 4. Puerto Rico rallied for two more runs in the top of the 10th inning and held on for its first win of the tournament. It was the first loss in the tournament for the Dominicans.
Ramirez only had one other defensive chance in the game, a ground ball in the seventh inning, and fielded it cleanly for a putout.
So there it is: A tiny sample size but probably large enough for Dodgers fans to worry about Ramirez’s glove coming into spring training. To be fair, a shoulder injury kept Ramirez off the field and relegated to DH for the Winter League season and the Caribbean Series before Monday — probably a smart move given the volume of games he’ll be expected to play in this year, which includes a World Baseball Classic and maybe the playoffs.
For now, Hanley Ramirez‘s defense remains right up there with Luis Cruz‘s bat and Andre Ethier‘s ability to hit left-handed pitching among the Dodgers’ biggest non-injury concerns going into spring training.