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Hanley's hot bat forces opponents to avoid him

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez is locked in at the plate, and opponents are well aware.

The Rockies intentionally walked Ramirez twice in Thursday's 6-1 win, and the Dodgers believe the trend will continue. Colorado avoided Ramirez in the opener in favor of rookie Scott Van Slyke, who bounced into a double play in the third inning and struck out in the eighth. Andre Ethier hit behind Ramirez on Friday.

"As long as he's swinging the bat like this, it's not going to stop," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We're going to have to be productive around him. He's that kind of guy. He's really tough to get out."

Among players with at least 100 at-bats entering Friday, Ramirez leads the Major Leagues with a .402 average, .458 on-base percentage and a .726 slugging percentage. He's hitting .467 with runners in scoring position and .451 against right-handed pitching. Ramirez has 47 hits in 36 games, including 20 for extra bases.

"When he's hot like he is right now, it's scary," said newly acquired starter Ricky Nolasco, who played with Ramirez for the Marlins. "He's a game changer. When he's going like he is now, it's impressive to watch. I've seen it before."

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for
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