Somebody asked Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly after Tuesday night's 4-2 win over the New York Mets how tough it will be to take Nick Punto out of his lineup Wednesday.

"It's pretty easy honestly" Mattingly said.

Punto might be batting .458 in his last nine games -- including his big two-run double off Matt Harvey on Tuesday -- but he was just keeping the spot warm for Hanley Ramirez who might have been the most dangerous hitter alive for about a month before he jammed his shoulder chasing a foul popup.

Those words spoken about a different player at a different time could have furrowed some brows maybe even stirred a bit of tension between the manager and a player. Punto's not that guy and this is not that moment.

And Punto's used to the grief. A few days ago he had to hear about teammate Skip Schumaker comparing him to actor Danny DeVito because of his squat build. Then the Dodgers took it to another level when they arranged for an on-field meeting between DeVito and Punto before Monday's game.

After Punto's home run the video board showed DeVito who turned around and pointed to his No. 7 Punto jersey.

Punto and fellow veteran Juan Uribe seem to come in for the most grief around these guys. The Dodgers have been letting Uribe have it ever since Evan Longoria got him with the hidden-ball trick Saturday. Somebody with the Dodgers talked the kid who ran onto the field with Uribe before Tuesday's game into tagging him with his autographed ball.

"There are a lot of characters in this clubhouse" Punto said. "There's a lot of ribbing that goes on all day long."

If the Dodgers were still losing the way they were back in April May and June "characters" might not have been the first word on the tip of everybody's tongues. Goofballs? Screw-ups? It's a lot easier to get away with all this slapstick stuff when you play .830 baseball for nearly two months.