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Hanley plans to start on Saturday

Dodgers shortstop dealing with hamstring issue

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez said he expects to start Saturday night against the Atlanta Braves after being held out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game Friday night with tightness in the same hamstring that put him on the disabled list.

Ramirez flied out to the warning track pinch-hitting in the ninth inning of the Dodgers' 2-1 win over the Braves at Dodger Stadium. Before the game, manager Don Mattingly said he was concerned Ramirez could be headed back to the DL.

"For me, it's a concern because it's two days," said Mattingly, "but Stan [Conte, medical director] doesn't; he thinks it's just something he's got to get through. I asked Hanley if he pulled it, and he said no."

On Thursday, Mattingly said Ramirez was out of that night's lineup because of a "regularly scheduled day off." What he didn't say was that Ramirez was already stiff in the left hamstring and behind the left knee. The condition remained into Friday.

The setback was the latest in a nightmare season for Ramirez, who missed most of April after surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament, returned to play four games, then pulled the hamstring May 3 and missed the rest of that month. He was activated Tuesday and started two games before the tightness.

Mattingly said he assumes the tightness is from "playing baseball" as opposed to a specific re-injury. But having lost Matt Kemp last year for two months to a hamstring injury, and learning this week that Carl Crawford's hamstring strain is worse than originally believed, Mattingly understandably fears the worst every time he hears word hamstring.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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