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Hanley returns to lineup from hand injury

LOS ANGELES -- As he predicted a day earlier, Hanley Ramirez was back in the Dodgers lineup Friday, batting third and playing shortstop, after a one-game absence.

Ramirez was struck on the left hand by a Ryan Vogelsong pitch Wednesday in San Francisco and was held out of Thursday's game.

"Am I playing?" Ramirez said when asked, then leaned over to check the lineup card, conveniently posted next to his locker, although he already knew the answer. "It's sore, but I'm playing."

Ramirez added there wasn't as much soreness as there was Thursday.

"This is really Hanley's call," manager Don Mattingly said. "You know as a player if you can play or not. When they [the Dodgers' medical staff] talked to him today, he said he was good to go."

If Ramirez had needed more time, Mattingly said, the Dodgers have pretty good options to hit No. 3 in Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier.

"Without him [Ramirez], we're set up better than other teams would be," the manager said. "It's still hard to say you're going to be as good if Hanley's not in the lineup."

Left-handed hitters Ethier and Carl Crawford were not in the lineup against D-backs lefty Wade Miley. But Mattingly said, that's not always how it's going to be, as he rotates four starting outfielders plus Scott Van Slyke, who started in left field and is 4-for-11 with two homers against Miley.

Van Slyke is also the backup for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the only left-handed hitter in the lineup against Miley. Gonzalez has hit .308 against him.

"We've had so many off-days, there's no need to get Adrian out of the lineup against a left-hander," Mattingly said. "As the season goes along, I'm going to put Scott at first to give Adrian a day, so one of those left-handed hitters [Crawford, Ethier] is going to be in there against a lefty."

Justin Turner was at second in place of lefty-hitting Dee Gordon, but Mattingly said: "If Dee keeps doing what he's doing [he's battting .373], he's going to get some chance against left-handers."

Earl Bloom is a contributor to
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