LOS ANGELES -- In the fifth inning of Wednesday's game at Dodger Stadium, Hanley Ramirez made his return to shortstop for the first time this season. It appears as if he is going to be playing there from here on out until Dee Gordon returns from his thumb injury.
After starting at third base for his first eight games with the Dodgers, Ramirez was penciled in as the starting shortstop Friday with Luis Cruz moving to third base.
Prior to this season, Ramirez played solely shortstop since coming into the Majors in 2005. However, he was moved to the hot corner when the Miami Marlins signed Jose Reyes.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has said from the start that he wants Ramirez to play shortstop to open up more lineup options, but he wanted to make it an easy transition for the infielder. Before Friday's game, Mattingly said Ramirez told him he was ready to make the switch back to his original position.
"I've talked about it from the very beginning -- that's where I want Hanley to end up," Mattingly said. "Hanley at short gives me the freedom at third base to be able to use Jerry [Hairston], to be able to use Luis, to be able to use Juan [Uribe]."
He added it also allows him to use Cruz at second base to give Mark Ellis a day off here and there.
As for the long-term plan, Mattingly said he plans to move Ramirez back to third base once Gordon returns from a torn ligament in his right thumb.
On Thursday, Gordon had the pin removed from the spot of the injury and he said the team was pleased with how that went. The speedy shortstop also had his neon lime green cast removed, which he said was a big relief, and he's going to take the next week easy as he gets strength back.
Gordon, who said he still feels sore, will stay with the team for the rest of the current homestand before moving on to Arizona to rehab at Camelback Ranch.
He said he has a timetable for his return, but he opted not to reveal any more information about it than that.
Mattingly echoes Hairston's frustration over slide
LOS ANGELES -- The day off Thursday helped Jerry Hairston's leg bruise, but it didn't lessen the Dodgers' fury over Wednesday's takeout slide by Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt that caused it.
Manager Don Mattingly echoed Hairston's opinion that Goldschmidt's slide was not clean.
"I'm all about playing the game hard. I love breaking up double plays, but play clean," Mattingly said Friday. "When I saw the replay, it was bad. That's not clean, especially by today's standards. That's trying to hit somebody. I've seen Hal McRae roll guys and Don Baylor [Arizona's hitting coach]. But that's a different time."
Kirk Gibson, Goldschmidt's manager, said he thought it was "a good, hard slide" and "not a big deal."
"I think we played really hard last series," the Arizona manager and former Dodgers MVP said before Friday's series opener against the Phillies. "I would never encourage us to do anything that wasn't within the rules. We do play hard. And I like when we play hard."
Hairston said the bruise on his right shin had improved and not being in the lineup was a manager's decision, not a health issue.
Mattingly, whose club has already had 21 disabling injuries, was glad Hairston didn't become No. 22.
"When I saw the replay, Jerry wasn't even trying to throw to first, he was stretching for the throw from this," Mattingly said. "If he slides into the bag, he might be safe. But what I saw, I didn't like at all. Look at the replay and I don't know how you can see it any other way.
"Maybe he [Goldschmidt] was mad about being hit, but we're not going to hit him with a guy on first down two runs to get to [Justin] Upton. Maybe that was his thought process, but he was definitely trying to get him [Hairston].
"I even talked to Ned [Colletti, general manager] about it. I don't know what you can do, but that slide was late. When Mark Ellis got hurt on a slide, there were no complaints from us because it was clean. Wendesday, Upton slid into Hairston, nobody said anything because it was clean. But it's not clean when you're trying to hurt somebody."
Lilly still eager to help Dodgers despite setback
LOS ANGELES -- Left-hander Ted Lilly is still hoping to play a part in the Dodgers' stretch run, even if that sounded like a long shot Friday after he was scratched from a Minor League rehab start with continued shoulder pain.
"Naturally, a little bit," Lilly said when asked if he was concerned. "I'm trying not to let it, but it can drive you a little crazy. But guys deal with it all the time. I'm not the only one."
Lilly made a scoreless two-inning rehab appearance Sunday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga but was sore the next day and wasn't able to throw his routine between-starts bullpen session. Prior to that, it was hoped he'd rejoin the rotation by mid-August.
General manager Ned Colletti said the setback was a factor in Friday's acquisition of Joe Blanton from the Phillies.
Lilly needed arthroscopic shoulder cleanup in November 2009, so he knows the drill. He rebounded to make 30 starts in 2010, when he was acquired by the Dodgers from the Cubs at the Trade Deadline.
He has been determined to rehab and recover in time to help the club and put off any procedure until the offseason.
"There's a lot of excitement being in the middle of a pennant run," he said. "This is kind of what we play for, to play games down the stretch, and I want to find a way to keep myself involved. I'm trying to continue being positive."
Lilly, who was 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA when he went on the disabled list May 24, said he hadn't thought about moving to the bullpen. But if that's what it takes to be part of the Dodgers' stretch run, he said he'd be willing.
"I'd do whatever they want me to do," said Lilly, a career starter. "I wouldn't have a problem with that if it gave us the best chance to win the division. That's what the rest of the clubhouse wants, to win, and you can't be concerned with what one individual player wants."
Reliever Scott Elbert, who is on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, was scheduled to play catch Friday. Manager Don Mattingly said the team is still hopeful Elbert will be out for only the originally expected two weeks and added he will find out in the next day or two how fast the reliever will be able to return from the DL.
Rubby De La Rosa is scheduled to pitch a rehab assignment Saturday with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. De La Rosa is about one year removed from Tommy John surgery and the team is taking a cautious approach knowing that "anything can happen at any moment," said Mattingly. His expected return is looking like late August or September as he is currently working on building back arm strength.