Batting first for the Dodgers, Hanley Ramirez.

Hanley Ramirez is batting leadoff in the Dodgers’ first game of spring training against the Chicago White Sox. Most of the other regulars in the lineup slotted into a familiar position: Mark Ellis second, Adrian Gonzalez third, Andre Ethier fourth, A.J. Ellis eighth. So what’s up with Hanley hitting first?

“I wanted to make sure I can get him three at-bats without having to play him seven innings,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly has said that he envisions Carl Crawford batting first once the regular season begins. But with Crawford’s uncertain health status, the Dodgers must use spring training to explore their options for the leadoff slot.

Mark Ellis batted leadoff much of last season. So did Dee Gordon, though he’ll need luck on his side to be there on Opening Day in Los Angeles.

Other Dodgers in camp who started games in the leadoff position last year include Tony Gwynn Jr. (21 games), Skip Schumaker (8 games for St. Louis), Elian Herrera (7), Jerry Hairston Jr. (6), Nick Punto (5) and Justin Sellers (1).

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.