Knock on wood: Los Angeles Dodgers position players healthy in September

first_imgNineteen games are left in the season and only three Dodgers — Adrian Gonzalez, Dee Gordon and Kemp — have a chance to play in 150 games this season. That’s a function, in part, of Mattingly rotating players fairly liberally. A sixth outfielder, Joc Pederson, just joined the mix.Justin Turner has filled in at all four infield positions. Catchers Drew Butera and A.J. Ellis will both finish below 100 games played. Ramirez has regularly been replaced late in games for a better defensive shortstop. Has all that time off this season helped keep players on the field for September?“It definitely helps,” Mattingly said. “Carl gets hurt for a while, and you do have the extra guy who’s a quality player. I think as much as anything, injuries … you have a year where it goes good, you’re fairly lucky and you have years where it goes really bad.”Besides, the DL is only one way to measure a team’s health. The bumps and bruises that go unreported can add up too. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I don’t think anybody’s parts are working,” Kemp joked. “This time of year, we’re sore.”Ramirez scufflingRamirez drew two walks in four plate appearances Sunday. He scored both times, thanks to a pair of three-run home runs by Gonzalez.Ramirez has taken over the No. 2 slot in the batting order effectively vacated by Puig, who was dropped to seventh for the first time in his career.“Over the last three months, Yas is probably hitting where he should be hitting right now,” Mattingly said.In the same breath, Mattingly professed his faith in Ramirez, who has seven hits in 43 at-bats since coming off the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.“That spot there, who do you want the extra at-bat going to? Right now it’s not necessarily Yasiel,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully it ends up being Hanley swinging the bat better and better, because I do feel like we’re going to need him going down the stretch here. If we’re going to be lucky enough to get into the postseason and do something, we’re going to need Hanley to do what he does. Hanley’s proven over the years that he’s a batting title type guy. He’s an MVP-type guy. He hits good pitching. He can hit good pitching. That’s what we’re hoping to get back to.”Also …Kemp was asked if it’s fair to compare his play this season to 2011, when he finished second in National League MVP balloting. “No,” he said, “because in 2011 I think I had 40 stolen bases around this time. I’m not running as good as I used to.” … Pederson went 0 for 2 with a hard line-drive out and a strikeout. He’s 2 for 14 with seven strikeouts to begin his major-league career. … Mattingly retracted his claim that Puig required IV treatment Saturday for a stomach ailment. … Derek Jeter was showered with retirement gifts at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. What did Mattingly receive when he retired? “A couple cars, pinball machine or like a game machine, golf clubs.”center_img The Dodgers’ position players are healthy — at least, healthy enough that all of them were available Sunday. Seven different Dodgers position players have spent time on the disabled list this season, missing a total of 216 games. That number isn’t significantly lower than a year ago, but the long-term injuries to stars Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp in 2013 were more conspicuous than any injuries this season.Dodgers manager Don Mattingly declined to give himself too much credit.“Honestly I think it’s just luck,” Mattingly said, “because I feel like we do the same type things this year, give guys days (off) to try to keep them fresh. Sometimes that works, sometimes they still get hurt.”last_img