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.”

Yasiel Puig’s struggles at the plate go beyond patience. Some charts on the Dodgers outfielder.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly corrected a claim he made about Yasiel Puig‘s health.

Mattingly told reporters Saturday that Puig wouldn’t play after receiving IV treatment for a stomach ailment. Sunday, the manager said that Puig never received an IV.

Maybe the illness was overblown, or an excuse to get a struggling hitter out of the lineup.

Whatever the reason, Puig is struggling. That’s a fact.

Since August 1, Puig is slashing .211/.309/.239. Sunday, he was dropped to seventh in the batting order for the first time in his career.

“I’m sure he’s working on rhythm and getting some movement, because we feel like he got stagnant at the plate,” Mattingly said. “I think you have to come up with the mentality that you swing at strikes. Patience, for me, doesn’t mean you’re trying to walk. It just means your’e getting yourself a good pitch to hit. That’s to me, what that is: Not in a hurry to get the at-bat over.”

As is sometimes the case, the problem isn’t as simple as Mattingly makes it sound.

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Dodgers demote slumping Yasiel Puig to seventh in the batting order.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig hasn’t hit a home run since July 31 and is batting .211 since. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)


One day after Yasiel Puig was given a day off to recover from a stomach ailment that required IV treatments, the All-Star outfielder found himself hitting seventh Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It’s the second time this week that Puig has been dropped to the lowest spot in the batting order in his career. Monday against the Washington Nationals, Puig batted sixth for the first time.

Puig owns a .211/.301/.239 slash line since August 1. He hasn’t hit a home run during the 29 games since.

Puig is playing right field, while Andre Ethier is batting fifth and starting in center field for the first time since August 29. Ethier has a .259/.300/.333 slash line in 30 plate appearances against Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill.

Here are the full lineups for both teams:

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Yasiel Puig sits out against the D-backs with stomach ailment

Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig sat out Saturday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks because of a stomach ailment. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Joc Pederson, rather than Andre Either, would replace Puig.

“More than anything Yasiel is not feeling good today,” Mattingly said, explaining Puig’s absence from the starting lineup. “He’s going to have an IV. There’s something going on with his stomach, so we’ll see how that goes.

“It’s opportunity for Joc to do his thing. We don’t want to force him into the lineup or anything else. But it’s an opportunity for him. I think he has a chance to help us. It’s a great experience for him, more than anything. Hopefully, he can help us win some games.”

Pederson went into Saturday’s game hitting .222 (2 for 9) in his first four games in the big leagues after a stellar season in the minor leagues.

 

Joc Pederson’s strong play could upset the apple cart.

Yasiel  Puig

Yasiel Puig went 0 for 3 with a walk and scored a run Monday night against Washington. (Getty Images)

Yas or Joc?

Puig or Pederson?

The debate existed only in theory two days ago, when Yasiel Puig was batting second and playing center field in San Diego, and Joc Pederson was still biding his time in Triple-A.

Now Pederson is here at Dodger Stadium, starting in center field while Yasiel Puig sits for the second time in his last five games.

Puig has two hits in his last 30 at-bats coming into Tuesday night’s game, with a right-hander (Doug Fister) on the mound for the Washington Nationals. Pederson — who struck out to end Monday’s game in his first major-league at-bat — is the reigning Pacific Coast League rookie of the year and MVP.

Mattingly downplayed the long-term debate by saying he would “pull (Puig) off and help him a bit, then give him a chance to get back in the water.” He said that Puig wouldn’t have to prove that he deserves the everyday center fielder’s job, but neither did he say when Puig’s next chance would come.

“I haven’t really thought about tomorrow,” Mattingly said. “Just putting it up today and see where we’re at.”

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Joc Pederson gets his first major-league start Tuesday against Washington Nationals.

Joc Pederson, who struck out in his first and only major-league at bat Monday, is in the Dodgers’ starting lineup Tuesday against the Washington Nationals.

Pederson is batting seventh and playing center field. Yasiel Puig has the day off against Nationals right-hander Doug Fister.

Yesterday, Puig batted sixth — the lowest he’s batted in a starting lineup in his brief career — and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t exactly downplay the pressure Pederson places on Puig.

Here’s the full lineup today:

Dee Gordon 2B
Hanley Ramirez SS
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Matt Kemp RF
Carl Crawford LF
Juan Uribe 3B
Joc Pederson CF
A.J. Ellis C
Clayton Kershaw P

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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‘Frustrated’ Yasiel Puig gets a day off against the San Diego Padres.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig is 1 for 11 in his career against San Diego Padres starter Andrew Cashner. (Andy Holzman/Staff photographer)

SAN DIEGO >> Dodgers manager Don Mattingly benched slumping outfielder Yasiel Puig for the first game of the Dodgers’ series against the Padres.

Andre Ethier is starting in center field for the first time in six days.

Puig is hitless in his last 18 plate appearances. He’s also 1 for 11 against the Padres’ starting pitcher, right-hander Andrew Cashner. His .091 batting average against Cashner is the lowest against any opponent he’s seen at least 10 times.

“He seems frustrated to us,” Mattingly said. “Just felt the extra day, with the matchups, it seems like it was the right thing to do today.”

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Yasiel Puig will participate in All-Star series in Japan

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig will be among the major league all-stars who will play a team of all-stars from Japan in November, MLB announced today.

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington will manage the MLB club. All-Star Series games will be hosted in Osaka (Kyocera Dome), Tokyo (Tokyo Dome) and Sapporo (Sapporo Dome). Two exhibition games will complement the five-game series, with one game in Osaka (Koshien Stadium) and the other in Okinawa (Okinawa Cellular Stadium).

In July, Dodgers pitchers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw said they would not participate in the series. Dee Gordon said he would.

So far, Puig, Albert Pujols, Adam Jones and Robinson Cano are the only participating players that MLB has announced.