With the season only a couple of weeks away the Los Angeles Dodgers were getting ready to start the year with a healthy roster. Thursday the team announced that shortstop Hanley Ramirez will be out for the next eight weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
Ramirez, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins before the trade deadline last season suffered the injury during the World Baseball Classic earlier this week.
The three-time All-Star will undergo surgery on Friday according to CBS Sports . If everything goes in the right direction, Ramirez could return to the Dodgers before the end of May.
The Dodgers will have to find a way to replace the offensive production after showing a lacking in the run department the last few years. Although his batting average has declined the last couple seasons, Ramirez still hit 24 home runs and 92 RBI with 21 stolen bases in 2012.
Dee Gordon and Luis Cruz will more than likely split time at shortstop for the time being.
Gordon batted .228 last season in 87 games for Manager Don Mattingly. It was unclear to whether or not he would start the season in Triple-A, but his speed will be needed after recording 32 stolen bases.
Despite who benefits more from Ramirez’s injury, the Dodgers will also be looking to newcomer Carl Crawford who will more than likely start the season as the no. 2 hitter.
The Dodgers have a new look going into this year with the additions of starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett. They also added depth in the outfield by signing Skip Schumaker.
In order to get by the first several weeks, the Dodgers will need to set the table on a consistent basis for the middle of their high-powered lineup. As long as their heavy hitters stay healthy, Mattingly’s squad will have a legitimate shot at competing with the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
With the absence of Ramirez, here is what the Dodgers’ lineup could look like for opening day-
SS- Dee Gordon
LF- Carl Crawford
CF- Matt Kemp
1B- Adrian Gonzalez
RF- Andre Eithier
2B- Mark Ellis
3B- Luis Cruz
C- A.J. Ellis
P- Clayton Kershaw