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Dodgers hope Ramirez won't play in WBC

The SportsXchange

The Los Angeles Dodgers have some notable absences from the provisional World Baseball Classic rosters announced Jan. 17.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, bothered by a hip problem late last season, and right-hander Zack Greinke are not on Team USA.

Left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu is not pitching for Korea (he did in the 2009 WBC), and right-hander Kenley Jansen, recovering from a surgical procedure to address an irregular heartbeat, is not expected to play for the Netherlands. Jensen was the Dutch catcher in the 2009 WBC.

However, the most disturbing news for the Dodgers might be one of their eight players who did appear on the preliminary rosters: Hanley Ramirez.

Ramirez is on the preliminary list for the Dominican Republic team. Just where his playing time would come is hard to say. Jose Reyes and Erick Aybar are also on the roster, and they figure to play ahead of Ramirez at shortstop. Adrian Beltre figures to be the Dominican team's third baseman.

The Dodgers hope Ramirez will be their everyday shortstop in 2013, but they need him to improve his defense in order for that to be a comfortable situation. Toward that end, the Dodgers had hoped Ramirez would play some shortstop in winter ball. He did not. A minor shoulder injury limited him to serving as a designated hitter.

Playing in the WBC would take Ramirez away from the Dodgers' spring camp, where he could focus on shortstop.

"It's hard to discourage a guy playing for his country," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the issue in December. "If I could -- if he would listen -- I would certainly talk to him because we would like him to play short."

Seven other Dodgers were on the provisional rosters: first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and infielder Luis Cruz (Mexico), right-hander Ronald Belisario (Venezuela), infielder Nick Punto (Italy), left-hander Paco Rodriguez (Spain), non-roster right-hander Peter Moylan (Australia) and minor league infielder Felipe Burin (Panama).
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