The Dodgers are prepared to start spring training with Hanley Ramirez as their starting shortstop.
While they have maintained contact with Zack Greinke's agent and checked in with the New York Mets on the remote possibility of trading for R.A. Dickey at the winter meetings, they haven't pursued any shortstops. And they don't plan to this off-season, General Manager Ned Colletti said.
Colletti and Manager Don Mattingly acknowledge that Ramirez has to play better defense than he did after he was acquired from the Miami Marlins in July. But they say they are confident he will.
"I kind of feel like Hanley can do anything," Mattingly said.
Ramirez had a reasonable alibi for his defensive shortcomings. The lifelong shortstop played third base for most of the season, a move he made to accommodate the Marlins' addition of Jose Reyes.
Ramirez is playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic, in large part to work on his defense. The Dodgers supported Ramirez's decision despite a recent scare when Ramirez jammed his right shoulder on a head-first slide at the plate. The injury relegated Ramirez to designated hitter, though he is expected to return to shortstop this week.
If Mattingly had his way, Ramirez would spend all of spring training with the Dodgers to continue his preparations at shortstop.
"We need him to put time in to be a better shortstop," Mattingly said.
But Ramirez wants to represent the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Reyes is expected to be that team's shortstop, meaning Ramirez probably would play third base at the tournament.
Dodgers hope Hanley Ramirez can overcome shortcomings
Los Angeles Times | Dec 5