Hanley Ramirez will primarily be the designated hitter for the Leones del Escogido in the Caribbean Series, a seven-day tournament, which began on Friday. Miguel Tejada will be the starting shortstop for most of the series for the defending champions. They also already have a third baseman with Fernando Tatis, and Julio Lugo and Luis Jimenez will be backing up the left side of the infield.
Hanley’s team defeated Venezuela’s Navegantes de Magallanes 7-2 Friday. Ramirez went 0-for-2 with two walks on the night.
On Saturday, the Dominican Republic won over Puerto Rico 6-2. Hanley, as DH, collected a walk, a single, and one run in the game. Sunday the Dominican Republic will take on Mexico on day three.
Hanley hasn’t seen much time at shortstop at all this offseason since a minor shoulder injury forced him to DH during winter baseball in the Domincan Republic. Hanley is also going to play in the World Baseball Classic, which has brought up the question whether he will lose valuable Spring Training time where he could be working at shortstop. Instead, he will most likely end up the DH since shortstop Jose Reyes and Erick Aybar will also be on team Dominican Republic. Adrian Beltre will be playing at third base. Hanley will be missing Dodger camp during a period from February to mid-March.
In fact, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times feels that Hanley Ramirez playing in the WBC is nothing but bad news for the Dodgers. I agree with Steve. Hanley’s success both on the field and at the plate next season is detrimental for the Dodgers. We all cringed last season at his often slow transition of the ball on routine plays. With little to no work at short this offseason, can we really rely on Ramirez at shortstop? Don Mattingly has said that his plans are to go with Ramirez at shortstop and Luis Cruz at third base, but perhaps he will need to swap the two for a bit if needed.
The Caribbean Series will have a new format this year which will include a Championship game on the seventh day. The two teams with the best records will go up against each other on Thursday. The tournament continues this weekend in Hermosillo, Mexico and will cumulate in the championship game Thursday, February 7th.
Do you think Hanley should play in the WBC or should he focus on being the best he can for the Dodgers in 2013? Sound off in the comments section.