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Hanley Ramirez's cast is off (but his thumb's still kind of grimy)

Hanley Ramírez tweeted this photo on Friday to announce that the cast had finally been removed from his injured thumb. Even the residue of a few weeks' worth of under-plaster goo can't damper our excitement at seeing him another step closer to recovery.

The Dodgers shortshop tore a ligament in his thumb while playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic last month. This isn't the first memorable image of Hanley's convalescence that he's shared with us online -- remember that amazing Instagram photo of his post-surgery foam brace/Transformers arm blaster?

Hanley Ramirez

More rehab awaits Ramírez before he can rejoin the Dodgers' lineup, but he's already taking one-handed swings and -- carefully, we hope -- fielding ground balls at practice. The three-time All-Star is expected to return in May.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Hanley, and as for your progress so far: two thumbs up. (See what we did there?)

-- Molly Fitzpatrick /