By Vincent Bonsignore
With the Dodgers dealing with injuries all year, and in some cases trying to nurse some along trying to avoid disabled list stints, manager Don Mattingly has had to work with a short-handed roster more times than he cares to remember.
And he’s calling for it to end.
With Hanley Ramirez unable to start for the fourth straight game Sunday with tightness in his left hamstring and Andre Ethier unavailable with a sore right arch, the Dodgers bench consisted of just two position players and a back-up catcher against the Atlanta Braves.
And that is far too thin for Mattingly’s taste.
“We can’t continue to play short. I played with two extras today and a backup catcher,” Mattingly said after the Dodgers fell to the Braves 8-1. “I didn’t have Andre, I didn’t have Hanley. You can’t play the National League game like that. You can get away with it in the American League but we can’t continue to do this.”
Mattingly understands players want to play – and avoid the D.L. at all costs. If that means sitting for a day or two in order to escape the required 15 days on the injured list, so be it.
But when a day or two turns into four, as is the case with Ramirez, it leaves Mattingly in a vulnerable position.
One he does not appreciate being in as he tries to pull the Dodgers out of last place.
Bottom line, he wants a full roster to work with.
“If you can’t play, for me you, have to go on the D.L.,” Mattingly said. “You can’t be trying to hang on and get a guy an extra three days. You play short in this league you’re just giving games away. And that’s what we’re trying to do.
Ramirez underwent an MRI on the hamstring Sunday, the results of which will determine whether he remains on the active roster.
And while Mattingly appreciates players wanting to play, he also needs a full roster to work with.
“If you can’t play you just can’t play.” Mattingly said.