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Could Yasiel Puig replace Hanley Ramirez as Dodgers' No. 5 hitter?

March 21, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Yasiel Puig steals second base during the Dodgers-Athletics game in Glendale, Ariz.
Yasiel Puig steals second base during the Dodgers-Athletics game in Glendale,… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

TUCSON – In addition to losing their shortstop, the Dodgers lost their No. 5 hitter when Hanley Ramirez was ruled out for the next eight weeks because of his upcoming thumb operation.

Asked if Ramirez’s status could improve outfield prospect Yasiel Puig’s chances of making the major league roster, General Manager Ned Colletti replied, “I don’t know.”

Puig, a 22-year-old Cuban defector who was signed for $42 million last year, is batting .521 in the Cactus League. But with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford in the Dodgers outfield,  Puig is expected to start the season in the minor leagues.

Manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez’s injury shouldn’t affect Puig’s standing.  Mattingly views the loss of Ramirez primarily as a defensive one and doesn’t think the Dodgers should make up for it by adding offense.

“We’ve been talking for a few years now about building our team around pitching and being able to catch the ball for him,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly also noted the Dodgers expect to have three healthy outfielders.

Of Puig, he said, “If he was a shortstop or a third baseman, it would be really great right now.”

ALSO:

Chad Billingsley has pain-free bullpen session

Zack Greinke thinks he can pitch in opening week

Dodgers prepare to be without Hanley Ramirez on opening day

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