Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez out; Paco Rodriguez optioned as Dodgers activate Josh Beckett.

Hanley  Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez did not taking batting practice Monday, one day after he was hit in the left hand and left shoulder by pitches in St. Louis. (Associated Press photo)

PITTSBURGH >> Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez are not in the Dodgers’ lineup for the second consecutive day.

The Dodgers will use the same lineup against Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Vance Worley that led to a 5-2 win Monday, with Matt Kemp starting in right field, Andre Ethier in center field and Carl Crawford in left. Before Monday, Kemp hadn’t started a game in right field since October 2009.

Puig was hit in the left hand by a Joe Kelly pitch on Saturday in St. Louis. Ramirez was hit in the left hand by a Trevor Rosenthal pitch Sunday. X-rays on both players revealed no broken bones, but they were still too hurt to take batting practice Monday. Puig was said to be closer to returning than Ramirez.

Josh Beckett was activated from the 15-day disabled list and will start the game for the Dodgers. Left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Want to increase scoring in MLB? Try this simple rule change that will never happen.

PITTSBURGH >> In the fourth inning Monday, the Dodgers had Dee Gordon on second base and A.J. Ellis on third with their 2-3-4 hitters due up. Gordon is among the fastest players in Major League Baseball, while Ellis has a great personality.

Now, in a 0- or 1-out situation, the Dodgers would prefer to have the runners reversed — Gordon on third, Ellis on second — since the faster runner has a better chance of tagging up and scoring on a fly ball. Crazy thought here: What if this were legal?

In the first half of the season, scoring was down to its lowest rate in 22 years. No-hitters practically became a monthly event. To some who grew up watching the inflated offensive numbers of the Steroid Era, the games became harder to watch.

To fans of pitching, the games became more exciting. And to baseball purists, the idea of allowing baserunners to switch positions is sacrilegious. It might not even lead to many more runs, if it had any impact at all. Given baseball’s reticence to tinker with its fundamental rules, it’s safe to say this will never be allowed.

But it could also add a small strategic wrinkle to the game in certain situations.

It’s a thought, at least.

Josh Beckett starts Tuesday, and the immediate future of the Dodgers’ rotation.

Josh Beckett

Associated Press photo

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly confirmed that Josh Beckett will come off the disabled list and start tomorrow’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, “barring anything unforeseen happening today.”

Beckett missed only one start after being placed on the disabled list July 8. Paul Maholm stepped in and threw six shutout innings against the San Diego Padres on July 12.

The Dodgers will need to make a corresponding roster move when Beckett is activated from the DL. The most likely candidate to come off the roster is left-hander Paco Rodriguez, if only because he can be optioned to Triple-A and the Dodgers will still have two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen: Maholm and J.P. Howell.

The Dodgers have days off on Thursday and Monday. Will Mattingly reshuffle the rotation?

Dan Haren has lost three straight starts while posting a 9.64 earned-run average. By skipping his next turn, aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke would each pitch this weekend against the San Francisco Giants and next week against the Atlanta Braves.

“It’s not something we’re willing to talk about at this point,” Mattingly said. “We know who’s going to pitch these next three games. From there, we start having some options. We want to make sure everybody knows where they’re going to be so their work schedule goes along with that.”

Hanley Ramirez out, Yasiel Puig questionable for Dodgers’ series opener in Pittsburgh.

Hanley Ramirez

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was hit by pitches twice Sunday in St. Louis. (Keith Birmingham/Staff photographer)

PITTSBURGH >> The second round of x-rays on the left hands of Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig aren’t in at the moment. The Dodgers aren’t expecting to see any fractures, but both players are on the bench to begin a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Update (4:00 p.m.): x-rays on both players’ left hands came back negative.

“Hanley’s sore. Yasiel is still a bit sore,” manager Don Mattingly said Monday. “Hanley, we’re not going to try to do anything with. Yasiel, as the day goes on, we’ll see if he can do anything.”

Both players are listed as reserves, with Matt Kemp starting in right field for the first time since 2009 and Justin Turner starting at shortstop for the first time since May 1. The Dodgers’ bench could be a short one, with Drew Butera, Miguel Rojas and Scott Van Slyke the only options if Puig and Ramirez can’t go.

Puig was hit on the hand in the Dodgers’ loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. Ramirez was hit in the hand (and the shoulder) in the Dodgers’ win on Sunday. Neither player had any protective apparatus covering his hand in the clubhouse Monday afternoon.

With Yasiel Puig injured, Matt Kemp makes his first start in right field since 2009.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp will make his first start in right field today since October 2009. (Associated Press photo)

PITTSBURGH >> Matt Kemp will make his 132nd career start in right field today. That’s quite a few starts, longer than many careers. By some advanced measures (namely, BIS Defensive Runs Saved Above Average), right field is Kemp’s best defensive position.

But his last start there was October 3, 2009. Kemp’s preparation for his latest position shift consists of shagging fly balls prior to today’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Without explicitly saying he had lowered expectations for Kemp in the field, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly lowered the expectations for Kemp in the field Monday.

“We really do make a big deal out of this and you know what? We don’t ask him to be perfect. We ask him to do his best,” Mattingly said. “If it’s not perfect, it’s not necessarily his fault.”
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Why Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig are getting second x-rays.

Every sports writer should know a doctor.

A doctor with intimate knowledge of sports medicine is ideal. One with intimate knowledge of the ulnar collateral ligament and the rotator cuff is perfect. Any orthopedist will do, really.

I called an orthopedist this morning to gain a better understanding of the difference between a fluoroscan x-ray, the kind that took pictures of Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig‘s hands over the weekend in St. Louis, and a traditional x-ray machine.
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Alex Guerrero doubles in first rehab game with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Alex Guerrero went 1 for 2, with a double and a fly ball, and played two innings at second base in his first rehab game for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

The infielder is working back from a gruesome fight that cost him a portion of his left ear, bit off by then-teammate Miguel Olivo. Guerrero didn’t play for 51 days after the incident in a Triple-A game May 20.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig will receive second x-ray in Pittsburgh, won’t play in the meantime.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig is batting .308 with 12 home runs and 52 RBIs in 92 games this season. (Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS >> The Dodgers have ordered a second x-ray on Yasiel Puig‘s left hand, and the all-star right fielder will not play in the Dodgers’ game against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight at Busch Stadium.

The right fielder was hit by a pitch in the third inning of the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. An x-ray after the game was negative, meaning it revealed no broken bones. However, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Puig won’t participate in any baseball activities until the second x-ray — scheduled for Monday in Pittsburgh — comes back clean.

“I think they just want to be cautious,” Mattingly said. “We think he’ll be OK.”

Puig batted once (he popped out) and played five innings in the field after being hit by a changeup from Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly in the third inning Saturday. The hand was visibly swollen after the game.

“He’s still sore and I think a little bit swollen,” Mattingly said. “Obviously we’re going to be cautious at this point.”

Coincidentally, Kelly hit Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez with a pitch in last year’s National League Championship Series, breaking a rib.

The Dodgers begin a three-game series against the Pirates on Monday.