ANAHEIM, Calif. – Hanley Ramirez said he felt more confident than he had in three years when he came off the disabled list at the end of April. Why?
"Because of this," Ramirez said, gesturing to the three-inch scar on his left shoulder, a souvenir from September 2011 surgery. It took Ramirez that long -- 18 months -- to feel as if he was back to being himself following the surgery.
That doesn't bode well for Matt Kemp, who is coming off a similar procedure. But it could bode well for Ramirez, who was one of the best overall hitters in the game before the shoulder injury.
Ramirez went 5-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in those four games before a hamstring injury sent him to the DL again. Now, he's on the cusp of returning again -- probably Monday or Tuesday -- and it could provide a sizeable boost for the Dodgers' offense.
Dodgers shortstops have a .569 OPS this season, 27th in the majors.
Ramirez will play in minor-league rehab games starting Friday before re-joining the Dodgers, probably on Tuesday.
"To me, Hanley has looked really good. In spring, he was hitting a lot of balls the other way, he had a simpler leg kick and wasn't near as big," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's hard to know really what to expect because he essentially hasn't played since spring training. I know how good Hanley is."
From 2005 to '10, Ramirez batted .313 and averaged 21 home runs, 33 stolen bases and 65 RBIs.
Here are lineups for Wednesday's game vs. the Angels:
1. Carl Crawford DH
2. Nick Punto SS
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Andre Ethier RF
5. Matt Kemp CF
6. Scott Van Slyke LF
7. Skip Schumaker 2B
8. A.J. Ellis C
9. Luis Cruz 3B
1. Erick Aybar SS
2. Mike Trout CF
3. Albert Pujols DH
4. Mark Trumbo 1B
5. Josh Hamilton RF
6. Howie Kendrick 2B
7. Alberto Callaspo 3B
8. Chris Iannetta C
9. J.B. Schuck LF