Ramirez doubtful, but might pinch hit

ST. LOUIS -- Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez could pinch hit this week and will likely avoid a trip to the disabled list, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday.

Ramirez has been sidelined since jamming his right shoulder while tumbling into the stands after a catch on Sunday.

"He looks good," Mattingly said. "Talking to the medical department, Hanley just keeps advancing. He's moving around today even better than yesterday. I would think if this keeps going like this he will try to hit a ball off a tee or something today. He'll try to do some baseball stuff today. How far that goes, we don't know. Hanley just keeps getting better. We're feeling a lot more confident that it's not going to be a DL. We're hoping sooner than later."

When asked if Ramirez would be available Wednesday or Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Mattingly wouldn't rule him out. "He's probably not," Mattingly said. "He'd be doubtful on the NFL scale today but you never know what happens."

Mattingly seemed more optimistic about the chances Ramirez would be available to pinch hit against the Tampa Bay Rays when the Dodgers return home on Friday.

"In at least a pinch hit situation so I'm not really down any players," Mattingly said. "When it first happened, if they told me he would be 100 percent in 15 days, I would have said I'll take that right now and it looks like it will be earlier than that. If it's under 15 and we can gain some days there that would be great."

The Dodgers got some more good news on the injury front Wednesday as Matt Kemp, who has been on the disabled list with a left ankle sprain since July 22, took part in batting practice for the first time and was throwing and catching in the outfield.

"Matt swung the bat really good today so I was really happy with that," Mattingly said. "He's going to be able to throw and he's going to be able to hit and doing a lot of that stuff but we're probably still a little bit away from sprinting and cutting and stopping, that's going to be the problem. I know they're doing some running in place and keep progressing."

Kemp, who is wearing an ankle brace, is still unable to run and doesn't know when he will be able to.

"The main thing is going to be trying to run," Kemp said. "I can hit. When I'm ready, I'm ready. I'm not really ready to run yet. … It felt good to get back out there and hit a little bit. I felt like a little baseball player. It's been tough to play a little bit and don't play and be out for a while and then comeback. It's a start. It's better than where I was. I feel pretty good. My body will tell me when I can start running again but I don't have any more swelling. I got my ankle back to where it doesn't look like a Nutty Professor ankle."

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti had hinted last week that Kemp might not be back in the lineup until September but Kemp said Wednesday that he would be back at some point this month.

"People keep saying September but nobody knows anything," Kemp said. "I don't know where they got September from. My body will tell me when I'm ready to play. It might be a week, two weeks but it's not going to be September."