Is Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez coming to Los Angeles or Albuquerque?

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes won’t be eating as well tomorrow as they have the past two days. That much is certain.

Hanley RamirezAs for when rehabbing shortstop Hanley Ramirez — who foot the bill on the Quakes’ clubhouse spread this weekend — will return to the Dodgers, that’s less certain. It might come as early as tomorrow, when the Dodgers host the Colorado Rockies.

“I think anything’s possible, the way he looked last night,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

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Mark Ellis to the DL? Decision on injured quad coming Sunday

Mark Ellis isn’t on the disabled list yet.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly considered it good news that second baseman responded well enough to a strained right quadriceps Friday that the team won’t make a decision about a potential extended absence until Sunday.

“I feel like it’s good news because it’s not like one of those, he walks in and we’ve got to put him on the (disabled) list,” Mattingly said. “It’s one of those things, he was really good today. Let’s see what it looks like tomorrow and we’ll get closer, be able to make a better decision (Sunday). We’re going to bite the bullet for a day or two here, see where we’re at.”

Ellis was batting .458 in his last six games with eight RBIs and seven runs during that stretch. Without Ellis available, the Dodgers played with four position players on the bench Saturday night.

Ethier’s stats dipped in 2010 wearing same splint Ramirez will use

It’s much easier nearly three years later for for Andre Ethier to put a positive spin on the flexible splint he wore on his injured hand, the identical apparatus Hanley Ramirez began using Saturday in his return from thumb surgery.

This much wasn’t positive: Ethier missed 16 games with a broken pinkie finger on his right hand in 2010, returning to hit .248 with one home run in his next 29 games. Ramirez, who had surgery after tearing a tendon in his thumb March 19, is returning three weeks ahead of schedule with the aid of a splint on his right hand.

“It inhibits some of your movement, but sometimes that can be a good thing,” Ethier said. “It makes you shorten up your swing. You become a little bit more selective because you know you can’t reach or have the strength in certain positions to hit a ball.”

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Dodgers’ Mark Ellis leaves game with strained right quadriceps. (Poll)

Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis left Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers with a strained right quadriceps.

Ellis sustained the injury running out a routine ground ball in the fifth inning. He slowed up just before reaching first base, clutching the top of his right leg.

Ellis was replaced by Nick Punto and did not return to the game.

Although Ellis’ .991 fielding percentage at second base is fourth in baseball history, the Dodgers have some experienced defensive replacements on the bench. Jerry Hairston Jr. has 3,050 career chances at second base with a .981 fielding percentage. Punto has 1,332 chances at second base with a .983 fielding percentage.

It’s not immediately clear how much time Ellis will need to recuperate. Assuming he’s not available for more than a few games, the greater question facing the Dodgers is: Who will bat second?

Interesting pitching matchup at Triple-A tonight.

Two members of the Dodgers’ 2011-12 relief corps, Josh Lindblom and Javy Guerrra, started against each other in a Triple-A game Friday night.

Lindblom allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings for the Round Rock Express and won. The right-hander, now a member of the Texas Rangers’ organization, has been converted to a starter.

Guerra allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings for the Albuquerque Isotopes and was the ‘Topes pitcher of record in the 4-3 loss. The box score is here.

The Dodgers don’t plan to convert Guerra exclusively to a starter’s role. General manager Ned Colletti said via text message Friday that they’re stretching him out and having him throw four pitches to give the team the option of using him as a starter, long man, or short reliever.

Dodgers’ Hanley Ramirez expected to begin rehab tomorrow at Rancho Cucamonga.

Hanley Ramirez will play his first rehabilitation game tomorrow with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate, the Dodgers’ shortstop confirmed on Twitter this afternoon.

The assignment was contingent on Ramirez emerging healthy from a pregame routine that included taking ground balls at shortstop, playing catch in the outfield from approximately 100 feet — the longest he’s thrown since having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb March 22 — and taking part in a round of batting practice.

Apparently, Ramirez made it out OK.

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Don Mattingly: Hanley Ramirez will play this weekend.

Hanley Ramirez

Speaking earlier today on “Ripken Baseball,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Cal and Billy Ripken on SiriusXM that Hanley Ramirez will play this weekend.

Ramirez has been taking ground balls and swinging a bat already, but hasn’t seen live game action since he tore a ligament in his right thumb in March. On Thursday, Ramirez indicated on his Twitter account that he would begin his rehabilitation assignment with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Here’s the entirety of Mattingly’s quote:
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Daily Distractions: On expiring contracts, Ryu, Ramirez and Robinson.

Matt Kemp Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly’s contract is up at the end of the year, but does it really matter? (Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

What do Don Mattingly, Charlie Manuel, Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire have in common?

Answer: Mr. Burns would disapprove of their sideburns.

We also would have accepted that each has a contract that expires at the end of the season, as do six other managers, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark. That’s one-third of the league.

Writes Stark:

It does reflect a change in what once passed for conventional thinking: We can’t hang our manager out there on the last year of his deal. The players will walk all over him.

That may have been the theory once upon a time. But nowadays, says Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, “I think it’s something from out of the past that doesn’t exist in the present anymore. It’s one of those old things that was widely accepted — and then a lot of smart people said, ‘Why?’”

Truth is, many fans haven’t wrapped their heads around this concept yet. The intellectually lazy belief is that a cold seat becomes warm, a warm seat becomes hot, and a hot seat becomes scorching if the manager’s contract is up at the end of the year.

The relationship between each manager and his team is different, but many of the same hypotheses about Mattingly’s job security are probably being applied to Leyland, whose team won the American League pennant a year ago and whose plaque in Cooperstown may have been minted already (hopefully with a cigarette in Leyland’s mouth and missing only the logo on his hat).

After all the Tigers are only 10-10, or one fewer loss than the Dodgers.

Some bullet points to tide you through a Sierra Leone independence day weekend:

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Shawn Tolleson has back surgery, out 3-5 months.

Shawn TollesonShawn Tolleson‘s time on the Dodgers’ active roster was brief but costly.

Tolleson is scheduled to undergo back surgery today to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. He is expected to return to competition in 3-5 months.

Tolleson started experiencing back stiffness after a rough travel day prior to his first and only appearance for the Dodgers on April 13. He received an epidural injection three days later and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

With today’s news, Tolleson could be transfered to the 60-day disabled list to open a spot on the 40-man roster if the Dodgers need it.

The news comes on the same day that Chad Billingsley had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.