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.”

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.

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.

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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With Miguel Rojas starting at shortstop again, taking stock of the Dodgers’ backup infielders.

Miguel Rojas

Miguel Rojas is hitting .232 in his first 30 major-league games. (Associated Press photo)

It’s reached the juncture, again, where Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez is being propped up by shoulder injections. The Dodgers seem to think that last night’s injection hit the correct spot. Time will tell.

On Friday, for the fourth time in the last five games, Ramirez wasn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup. Miguel Rojas was. Ramirez’s health seems to be stuck on day-to-day, so it’s worth examining where his backups stand in what’s become a competition for fairly regular playing time.
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Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier rest with injuries.

Scott Van Slyke is in center field and Miguel Rojas is starting at shortstop against rookie right-hander Jesse Hahn when the Dodgers host the San Diego Padres tonight at Dodger Stadium.

Though manager Don Mattingly isn’t exactly hoping this becomes a trend, it might be too late. Van Slyke has started three of the last five games in center field over Andre Ethier, and four of the last eight. Typically the starter against a left-handed opponent, Van Slyke is starting for the second straight night against a righty.

“In general Dre just seems like he doesn’t have the same energy. He hasn’t felt good body-wise,” Mattingly said. “There’s lots of little things. One thing usually is the building block to another and to compensate, you’ve got another issue. It’s really just trying to get that stuff kind of resolved.”

As for shortstop Hanley Ramirez, he’s started only one of the last five games at shortstop because of inflammation in the A/C joint in his right shoulder. He’s only played one complete game at shortstop since June 16 — he was the Dodgers’ designated hitter once in Kansas City and twice in Detroit in the meantime.

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Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) out again. Don Mattingly hopes shortstop can avoid the disabled list.

Hanley Ramirez was held out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals and will potentially miss his fourth straight game with a sore right shoulder.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was hopeful that his shortstop could still make an appearance in tonight’s game:


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Yasiel Puig still leading National League outfielders on all-star ballot; Adrian Gonzalez slips to second.

MLB provided an updated all-star ballot tally Sunday, and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig still leads the pack with 1,942,701 votes. Andrew McCutchen (1,727,534) and Giancarlo Stanton (1,659,430) are second and third, respectively.

Adrian Gonzalez (1,049,222) fell behind Paul Goldschmidt (1,291,052) in voting among National League first basemen. No other Dodgers are among the top three vote-getters at their position.

Juan Uribe dropped out of the top five among National League third basemen. Hanley Ramirez remains fourth among shortstops with 667,162 — well behind Troy Tulowitzki, whose 2.6 million votes lead all National League players. Dee Gordon slipped to third among second baseman with 898,226, possibly past the point of catching leader Chase Utley (1,678,843).

Voting ends at 8:59 pm on July 3, 2014.

Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez continue their strong All-Star bids.

Yasiel Puig Adrian Gonzalez

Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez are attempting to become the first pair of Dodgers teammates to earn fan elections in an All-Star Game since 1980. (Getty Images)

Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez continue to lead all National League outfielders and first basemen, respectively, in updated All-Star balloting announced Monday.

Puig widened his lead over Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, 1,472,717 votes to 1,259,047 for Stanton. As of six days ago, Puig led Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon by about 52,000 votes. Blackmon fell out of the top three, surpassed by Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. There are no other Dodger outfielders (Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are both on the ballot) among the top 15 vote-getters.

Puig entered play Monday ranked second in the N.L. with a .591 slugging percentage and a .430 on-base percentage, tied for fourth with 23 multi-hit games, fifth with 127 total bases, tied for sixth with 40 RBI and 30 extra-base hits and tied for seventh with 72 hits.

Gonzalez maintains his lead with 888,906 total votes. He is trailed closely by a pair of 2013 N.L. All-Stars – Paul Goldschmidt (784,026) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Freddie Freeman (710,778) of the Atlanta Braves.

Puig and Gonzalez are attempting to become the first pair of Dodgers teammates to earn fan elections in an All-Star Game since 1980, when first baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, shortstop Bill Russell and outfielder Reggie Smith were all elected by the fans.

Three other Dodgers are among the top five vote-getters at their positions: second baseman Dee Gordon (second), shortstop Hanley Ramirez (fourth) and third baseman Juan Uribe (fifth).

The All-Star Game will be played at Target Field in Minnesota on Tuesday, July 15.