With pain not subsiding, shortstop exits in top of seventh after going 0-for-3
LOS ANGELES -- Shortstop Hanley Ramirez started Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday despite having a fractured rib in his left side, but he was removed after six innings as the pain worsened, and the Dodgers decided Ramirez needed to start treatment early in hopes of playing Game 5 on Wednesday (1 p.m. PT on TBS).
"I was trying to compete and go out there and try to even up the series," Ramirez said after the Dodgers lost to the Cardinals, 4-2, to move to the brink of elimination. "By the [sixth] inning, I couldn't go any more."
Ramirez said he "definitely" plans to start Game 5, adding his treatment program would include plenty of ice, steam and ultrasound therapy.
He was in the lineup posted by manager Don Mattingly on Wednesday morning.
"Tomorrow, I'm going to come back, and I expect to see my name in the lineup," Ramirez said. "But it's going to be hard. I'm going to try to play tomorrow. I'm going to go back to my house and get some rest and be ready to go tomorrow."
Said Mattingly: "We'll see where he goes tomorrow, if he's able to get loose and basically we are at the same spot."
The Dodgers' medical staff kept a close eye on Ramirez during Game 4, meeting with him in the dugout between innings.
"They were trying early in the game to take me out," said Ramirez, who is also nursing an inflamed sciatica nerve that sends pain into his left hamstring. "I said I wanted to stay in. But I got to a point that I had to come in here and get treatment."
Nick Punto replaced Ramirez in the field in the top of the seventh with the Dodgers trailing, 3-2.
Ramirez went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and appeared to be in pain after some swings. Unlike before Game 3, he did not have a pain-killing injection prior to the contest.
During an interview with TBS early in the game, Mattingly said he noticed a difference in Ramirez's swing.
"He's feeling a little something," Mattingly said. "I think we're seeing it at the plate. It looks for me a little bit backsided. When guys can really hit, they're going to use that front side. It looks like he's kind of favoring, going to that back side."
Ramirez sustained a hairline fracture of the eighth rib during Game 1 on Friday, when he was hit by a 95-mph fastball from Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. He sat out Game 2, but he was able to play through the pain in Game 3 and had two hits and an RBI.
But Ramirez said he had increased discomfort in his left side when he woke up on Tuesday.
"All day, it's been a lot of pain," he said. "It was worse than yesterday. I don't know why. I don't know what happened."
Regardless, Ramirez vowed to do whatever it takes to play Game 5 with the Dodgers down, 3-1, in the NLCS to St. Louis.
"I've been trying all my best to be in the lineup and help the team win," he said. "I'm going to keep doing that."
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com.