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.”

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.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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

Why the Chase Headley trade could be gold for Juan Uribe.

Juan Uribe

Juan Uribe leads all National League third basemen in UZR and dWAR after the trade that sent Chase Headley to the New York Yankees. (Getty Images)

Nolan Arenado missed a month of the season with a fractured middle finger.

Chase Headley is a New York Yankee.

Suddenly, Juan Uribe has a very real chance of winning his first career Gold Glove award.
A look at where Uribe ranks in the National League:
Continue reading

The hit by pitches are adding up and starting to resonate with players. Tonight’s game story.

Clint Hurdle

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected after pitcher Justin Wilson was ejected for hitting Justin Turner with a pitch Tuesday. (Associated Press photo)


Dodgers shortstop Justin Turner was measured but outspoken in his postgame comments tonight — not only about getting hit by a 97-mph fastball, but the fact that he’s far from alone.

One late, important result that won’t make the early editions: The Giants (56-44) beat the Phillies in the 14th inning, so the Dodgers (56-46) are now a full game out of first place in the National League West.

Click here for the story.

The box score is here.

Don Mattingly would consider moving Yasiel Puig to center field, keeping Matt Kemp in right.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig has played 10 games in center field, all last season. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

PITTSBURGH >> It was just a thought in the middle of a July game, but it’s one that could have lasting consequences for the Dodgers.

Manager Don Mattingly said that Matt Kemp looked so comfortable playing right field Monday that he entertained the thought of keeping Kemp there and moving Puig to center field.

“It made me think about it,” Mattingly said. “Just how comfortable Matt looked, it changes the combination of guys. So again, you’re always trying to put the best club out there, give yourself the best chance to win. It just popped into my head during the game last night.”
Continue reading