Is Hanley Ramirez's return imminent?

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers shortstops are hitting .167, worst in the majors. Dodgers third basemen are hitting .178.

In other words, this would be a good time for Hanley Ramirez to return from the disabled list. According to Ramirez, that day is rapidly approaching. The Dodgers originally thought Ramirez would be out until late May, but he has begun taking batting practice and fielding grounders. The team has outfitted him with a special splint that allows him to throw while protecting his surgically repaired right thumb.

"It's awesome. No pain, nothing," Ramirez said. "Definitely it's going to happen way sooner than it's supposed to."

Ramirez wouldn't reveal exactly when he might return, saying it was a surprise.

"I'm going to tweet it," Ramirez said.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, continue to go primarily with Justin Sellers at shortstop and Luis Cruz at third base, largely because they lack other options. Cruz is batting .111, Sellers .176. They each have one RBI. But they are easily the best available defenders at their positions.

"We decided we're going to play defense," manager Don Mattingly said. "When you put together a pitching staff like this, you have to catch the ball."

Here are lineups for Tuesday's game:

San Diego

1. Chris Denorfia RF

2. Everth Cabrera SS

3. Yonder Alonso 1B

4. Jesus Guzman LF

5. Jedd Gyorko 3B

6. Nick Hundley C

7. Cameron Maybin CF

8. Alexi Amarista 2B

9. Jason Marquis RHP


1. Carl Crawford LF

2. Mark Ellis 2B

3. Matt Kemp CF

4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B

5. Andre Ethier RF

6. A.J. Ellis C

7. Juan Uribe 3B

8. Justin Sellers SS

9. Chris Capuano LHP