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Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez vows to return sooner than expected

DODGERS FYI

Shortstop had thumb surgery March 20 and was supposed to be back May 17, but Ramirez says he plans to play earlier than that.

April 16, 2013|By Bill Shaikin

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The team that has scored the fewest runs in the National League West got good news Tuesday when shortstop Hanley Ramirez said he plans to return well before the mid-May timetable set when he had thumb surgery.

"Everybody is going to be shocked," Ramirez said.

Ramirez said he felt "awesome" after hitting in the cage and taking ground balls, with his right thumb protected by a splint. He tore a ligament in the thumb in the World Baseball Classic championship game March 20. After surgery two days later, the Dodgers said he would sit out eight weeks.

That would be May 17.

"Way sooner," Ramirez said.

He would not say when he might start a minor league rehabilitation assignment or return to the major league lineup.

"It's a surprise," he said. "I'm going to tweet it."

Sold on Sellers

In the absence of Ramirez, Dodgers shortstops began play Tuesday having scored one run. Justin Sellers, who has started all but two games at shortstop, is batting .176.

"I feel like he's done the job we've asked him to do," Manager Don Mattingly said.

Mattingly said the Dodgers have not considered recalling Dee Gordon, who opened last season as their starting shortstop. In his first 11 games at triple-A Albuquerque, Gordon is batting .319, with eight stolen bases in nine attempts.

"Sellers is not the problem with our offense," Mattingly said. "We should be able to carry Sellers offensively. Really, we have, other than not getting the hits."

The Dodgers began play batting .268 overall, .174 with runners in scoring position.

Short hops

With his first strikeout Wednesday, Clayton Kershaw will set a franchise record for fastest to 1,000 strikeouts. Sandy Koufax got to 1,000 in 9892/3 innings; Kershaw is at 9671/3 innings. … Reliever Matt Guerrier, who replaced the injured Chris Capuano in the third inning, struck out in his first at-bat in eight years. In his only plate appearance in the interim, he drew a bases-loaded walk. … The Dodgers played "Sweet Caroline," the unofficial anthem of the Boston Red Sox, as a gesture of support for Boston after the bombings there Monday. For the second consecutive night, the Dodgers also held a moment of silence to honor the victims of the bombings.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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