Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez return to Dodgers’ starting lineup.

SAN FRANCISCO >> Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig are in the Dodgers’ starting lineup for the first time since Saturday.

The pain in their injured left hands had subsided enough to allow both players to take batting practice Friday at AT&T Park.

“Yasiel the other day, we were cautious with him in Pittsburgh,” Mattingly said. “He pinch hit so we knew he was ready. Hanley, we were hoping today. He came in feeling good, so that extra day give him a better chance to be healthy.”

Ramirez is batting fourth and playing shortstop. Puig is starting in center field for the first time all season after playing only one inning at the position prior to today — the ninth inning Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

“He’s played it before,” Mattingly said. “He played it in Toronto (last season) and he played it at home a little bit. It’s not his first time out there.”

When pressed, Mattingly emphasized that the defensive alignment of Carl Crawford in left field, Puig in center and Matt Kemp in right is the best he can field given the Dodgers’ current personnel.

“At this point, it’s what it is,” Mattingly said. “It could be a day, could be a week, could be forever. I don’t think we really know. We know (Puig) is physically capable of handling that spot.”

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Dan Haren’s next rotation turn will be skipped, but hey — he as many wins as Edinson Volquez.

Dan Haren

Dan Haren’s next start will be a week from Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. (Associated Press photo)

SAN FRANCISCO >> Edinson Volquez leads the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching staff with eight wins this season.

Dodgers starter Dan Haren also has eight wins.

There are other statistics that could be used to compare the two pitchers, but we won’t go into those because Don Mattingly didn’t go into those when asked about Haren’s struggles this afternoon.

Haren’s next turn in the rotation — originally scheduled for Wednesday against Atlanta — will be skipped. Instead, Haren’s next start will be a week from Saturday at Dodger Stadium against the Chicago Cubs.

Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw will start against the Braves instead, all on regular rest.
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The Dodgers are catching the San Francisco Giants at a weak moment, but will it matter?

Brandon Belt

San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who a year ago reminded everyone that “you can’t buy chemistry,” won’t play this weekend against the Dodgers because of a concussion. (Associated Press photo)


SAN FRANCISCO >> Giants versus Dodgers.

First place versus second.

The weekend series doesn’t need any subplots — it can sell itself — but here’s a subplot anyway.
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What do the last two games mean for the Dodgers’ trade deadline needs?

Josh Beckett and Dan Haren gave the Dodgers’ front office good reason to question the depth of their starting rotation.

What to make of each of their performances?

Who would be a better pitcher, and do the Dodgers have a chance of trading for him?

This and more for your off-day reading:

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140724/josh-beckett-dan-haren-give-dodgers-some-trades-to-ponder

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