Dodgers-Cardinals notebook: Ramirez in starting lineup despite broken rib

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- A hairline fracture in his left ribcage could not keep Hanley Ramirez out of the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS on Monday at Dodger Stadium.

A CT scan revealed the fracture, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, but after making it through batting practice, shortstop Ramirez started and was placed in the third spot in the batting order as the Dodgers tried to dig out of a 2-0 hole in the best-of-seven series.

Ramirez has been the Dodgers' most potent weapon since returning from early-season injuries June 4. He hit .345 with 25 doubles, 20 home runs and 57 RBIs in 86 regular-season games and was 8-for-16 with four doubles, a homer and six RBIs against Atlanta in the NLDS.

Ramirez cannot make the injury worse by playing, Mattingly said, but the bigger issue is pushing through the pain. Ramirez is wearing a pad around his rib cage, and Mattingly admitted, "All the padding in the world doesn't stop you from being able to swing or not swing."

Ramirez was hit by a pitch in the first inning of St. Louis' 3-2, 13-inning victory in Game 1 in Busch Stadium on Friday. He also walked three times, twice intentionally, and appeared to be in pain when he leaped to catch Matt Holliday's line drive in the last of the first inning. He was held out of St. Louis' 1-0 victory in Game 2.

"Certain things are hard to play with," Mattingly said. "As a hitter, trying to stop and start (a swing), you can say, 'Oh, you should play through it.' It's a lot easier said than done when you're trying to stop on a (Trevor) Rosenthal 99 mile-an-hour fastball that turns into a cutter ... and your rib is basically cracked."

Mattingly said there has been no talk of Joe Kelly's pitch being intentional.

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St. Louis held a two-game lead early in the NLCS for the second straight season, although the Cardinals were not able to close out eventual World Series champion San Francisco after taking a 3-1 lead in 2012.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he felt no sense of deja vu, just a sense of urgency, entering Game 3.

"Right now, it's just play the game, keep going, keep your head down," Matheny said. "But what we learned last year is just how fragile this is and how quickly it can get away from you. They (Giants) played a little better than we did."

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Notes: Dodgers CF Andre Ethier, who did not start in the final 15 games of the regular season while nursing an ankle injury, started for the second time in the NLCS in Game 3. He pinch hit in all four games of the NLDS against Atlanta and struck out as a pinch-hitter to end St. Louis' 1-0 victory in Game 2 of the NLCS. He made his first start since Sept. 13 in Game 1 of the NLCS, going 1-for-5 with a single and a walk ... Dodgers RHP Ricky Nolasco and Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn are the scheduled starters for Game 4 on Tuesday. Nolasco is 2-0 with an 0.75 ERA against St. Louis this season, with one start coming while he was with Miami and one with the Dodgers. Lynn is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA against the Dodgers this season, throwing six shutout innings here May 24. He is 2-0 with a 2.50 in three career starts against them.
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