Don Mattingly: Hanley Ramirez’s right elbow improving.

DENVER >> Don Mattingly said Wednesday that Hanley Ramirez’s sore right elbow had improved, one day after he was scratched from the Dodgers’ starting lineup:

Mattingly also talked about how difficult the season has been for Ramirez, who’s battled nagging injuries throughout the season (elbow, shoulder, hand) and spent 15 days on the disabled list in August with a strained right oblique muscle:

Don Mattingly expresses faith in struggling Hanley Ramirez.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez has seven hits in 12 games since coming off the disabled list. (Getty Images)


Hanley Ramirez drew two walks in four plate appearances Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He scored both times, thanks to a pair of three-run home runs by Adrian Gonzalez.

Ramirez has taken over the number-two slot in the batting order effectively vacated by Yasiel Puig.

“Over the last three months, Yas is probably hitting where he should be hitting right now,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

In the same breath, Mattingly professed his faith in Ramirez, who has seven hits in 43 at-bats since coming off the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.

“That spot there, who do you want the extra at-bat going to? Right now it’s not necessarily Yasiel,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully it ends up being Hanley swinging the bat better and better, because I do feel like we’re going to need him going down the stretch here. If we’re going to be lucky enough to get into the postseason and do something, we’re going to need Hanley to do what he does. Hanley’s proven over the years that he’s a batting title type guy. He’s an MVP-type guy. He hits good pitching. He can hit good pitching. That’s what we’re hoping to get back to.”

Hanley Ramirez joins the Dodgers’ lineup at the last minute.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez takes a minute to get up after injuring himself turning toward second base during the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday. (Associated Press photo)

SAN DIEGO >> When the camera isn’t rolling, Hanley Ramirez prefers to work in the shadows these days.

In the clubhouse before the Dodgers’ game against the Padres, he politely informed reporters that he isn’t doing interviews. Less than an hour later he was in a dark corner of left field, the only portion of Petco Park not bathed in sunshine, where the Western Metal Supply Co. building casts its shade. It’s the same building into which Ramirez hit a 390-foot home run last night.

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Hanley Ramirez returns, Dodgers option Erisbel Arruebarrena to Rancho Cucamonga.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez spent the minimum time on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle. (Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez was in the Dodgers’ starting lineup Sunday for the first time since he strained a right oblique muscle August 8 in Milwaukee. Ramirez was batting fourth then, and has batted either second, third or fourth every time he’s been in the lineup this year.

Why is he batting fifth today?

“I wanted to let Hanley get back into the flow,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s been a little bit of time. He doesn’t really have a history with (New York Mets starter Bartolo) Colon. Matt’s got a little history.”

Dee Gordon is leading off, Yasiel Puig is batting second, Adrian Gonzalez is third and Matt Kemp fourth — the same order Mattingly has used in 10 of the 13 games since Ramirez was placed on the disabled list.

“We’re not really going to try to be that cautious,” Mattingly said. “We’re going to play him. We’re not going to run him into the ground. If he’s not feeling good we’re going to give him a break. With the days off coming, just kind of play it by ear. Play one, got one off. Play two, got another one off. Then we’ve got six in a row. Unless we’ve got something going on, he should be fairly rested.”
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Erisbel Arruebarrena gives Dodgers a blank slate at the plate.

The Dodgers recalled Erisbel Arruebarrena from the Rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers, where he had been rehabbing. Evidently, the rookie shortstop’s sore shoulder was the only reason he wasn’t recalled sooner. Carlos Triunfel, who got the call-up Saturday when Juan Uribe was placed on the 15-day disabled list, was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Arruebarrena has played some second base and third base this season for Triple-A Albuquerque. His job with the Dodgers will be at shortstop, where he saw action in eight games in May and June, making no errors and batting .313 (5 for 16).
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Hanley Ramirez’s stubbornness is on track to relegate Miguel Rojas to the bench.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle. (Getty Images)


Hanley Ramirez turned a few heads Saturday by taking ground balls at third base before the Dodgers’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

That was the point, manager Don Mattingly said Sunday.

“I think he likes making everybody raise their eyes and making me answer questions,” Mattingly said.

Question: will Ramirez be a third baseman once he’s activated from the 15-day disabled list?

“No real talk of that,” Mattingly said.

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Dodgers recall Darwin Barney from Triple-A; Hanley Ramirez goes on DL.

MILWAUKEE–Darwin Barney’s flight landed here at 5 a.m. Sunday. A new uniform was waiting for him at Miller Park with number 30 on his back. A new position was waiting for him, too.

Barney, a second baseman for most of his professional life, might need to help the Dodgers more at shortstop — one of two positions (along with third base) he was asked to learn at Triple-A Albuquerque. Hanley Ramirez strained his right oblique muscle in the batting cage Friday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time this season, retroactive to Saturday.

Ramirez underwent an MRI scan Sautrday. Results have not been made available to the media.

Barney said he’s comfortable playing shortstop. He played three innings Saturday night in Las Vegas with Albuquerque, then flew out at 11:30 pm.

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez sits for middle game in Milwaukee. Update.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez walked in his only plate appearance Friday in Milwaukee. (Getty Images)

MILWAUKEE — Hanley Ramirez is not in the lineup one day after pain in his right side forced him to leave the Dodgers’ game against the Brewers. Ramirez walked in his only plate appearance Friday in the Dodgers’ 9-3 loss.

Ramirez was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today. The results haven’t been made available yet. Ramirez hasn’t been placed on the disabled list this season.

Update (2:45 p.m.): Ramirez was scheduled to undergo the MRI around 2 p.m. PST, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, for an injury involving his oblique muscle. “They’re pretty serious as far as I’m concerned,” Mattingly said, “because they don’t allow you to do anything. That’s the area. The MRI will give us a good indication of severity, swelling, bleeding or any of that stuff.”

Miguel Rojas is starting at shortstop in Ramirez’s place. The full lineup:

Dee Gordon 2B
Yasiel Puig CF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Matt Kemp RF
Carl Crawford LF
Juan Uribe 3B
A.J. Ellis C
Miguel Rojas SS
Zack Greinke P