Hanley Ramirez will likely start at shortstop to open the season for the… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
NASHVILLE -- Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly made clear Tuesday that he continues to view Hanley Ramirez as his likely opening-day shortstop.
“I kind of feel like Hanley can do anything,” Mattingly said.
Ramirez has said he wants to represent the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic, which would result in his missing a part of spring training. Mattingly said he wouldn’t have a problem with that, provided that Ramirez plays shortstop.
A career-long shortstop, Ramirez played third base for the Miami Marlins for most of this year. He was moved back to his old position soon after his midseason trade to the Dodgers.
The Dodgers supported Ramirez’s decision to play winter ball in his homeland because they wanted him to improve his defensive play.
But it appears unlikely that Ramirez would play shortstop in the World Baseball Classic, as Jose Reyes has already committed to play for the Dominican Republic. The Marlins’ signing of Reyes last winter prompted Ramirez’s move to third base.
Would Mattingly try to dissuade Ramirez from playing in the World Baseball Classic if he won’t be the Dominican Republic’s shortstop?
“It’s hard to discourage a guy playing for his country,” Mattingly said. “If I could, if he would listen, I would certainly talk to him because we would like him to play short.”
With Ramirez at shortstop, Luis Cruz will go into spring training with the first crack at becoming the starting third baseman. Jerry Hairston Jr., Nick Punto and Juan Uribe could also figure in at third base, according to Mattingly.
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