04/19/2013 7:14 PM ET
Hanley shows encouraging power in batting practice
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez took live early batting practice at Camden Yards before Friday night's game and hit with power, but manager Don Mattingly said a Minor League rehab assignment is still at least a week away.
"Stan [Conte, medical director] said we've got to get off the trip first," Mattingly said. "[It is] at least a week before a rehab assignment. You want him to play at least a game or two. He hasn't played a [Major League] game in six months. He needs to get out and prove himself."
Ramirez did, however, play in the World Baseball Classic, where he hurt his thumb, and said he would return to the Dodgers without a rehab assignment if it were up to him. He said he hopes to be in the lineup by April 30, when the Dodgers will give away his bobblehead at Dodger Stadium.
"It's still a little sore in the joint, three weeks without moving it," said Ramirez, who appeared ginger on his throws to first base.
Ramirez originally was given a two-month timetable to return from March 22 surgery, but said earlier this week that he was far ahead of schedule, and his display Friday seemed to back that up, at least as far as swinging the bat.
"What he's been able to do has shocked all of us," said Mattingly. "Taking BP, his swing is like normal. Is he able to do that without the brace? There's still healing to be done. It seems his throwing, he still has trouble with the feel making all his throws. He asked if he could DH tonight and I couldn't hardly argue. I wouldn't mind it."
Ramirez had been throwing for the past two weeks despite a small cast that limited the pressure he could put on his healing thumb.
Now that the cast has been replaced with a pliable splint taped to his thumb, he's able to throw with more freedom.
Lilly set to join rotation after Capuano's injury
BALTIMORE -- Ted Lilly will start Wednesday night's game against the Mets, manager Don Mattingly confirmed Friday. Lilly replaces the injured Chris Capuano, who previously replaced the injured Zack Greinke.
"That's our plan," said Mattingly. "Obviously, he's got to come out of the bullpen today and one more [side session], but that's the plan."
It's been a couple weeks of drama for Lilly, who opened the season on the disabled list, as his recovery from last year's shoulder surgery was slowed during Spring Training by the flu and a rained-out start.
He was in a standoff with management a week ago over whether he needed additional Minor League rehab starts, but injuries to Greinke and Capuano left the Dodgers needing Lilly now.
"I spent plenty of time on the DL last year and I can't wait to get off it," said Lilly, who threw a bullpen session Friday and will have another Sunday. "Unfortunately, to be completely frank, the last thing we needed was something like what happened to Greinke and Cappy going down. I hope they get back as soon as possible."
Lilly said each of his three rehab starts was better than the previous with his delivery and ability to adjust. He said he's looking forward to competing again in the Major Leagues for the first time since last May.
"I don't take anything for granted or expect anything given to me," he said. "I've never been that way. I'm fortunate to be able to do what I do and very grateful for the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues. I realize that could change at any moment."
Capuano undergoes MRI, receives calf injection
BALTIMORE -- Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano had an MRI and platelet-rich plasma injection Thursday in his injured calf muscle, the club announced.
Capuano left Tuesday night's game with a strained left calf muscle, which he said he originally felt stretching before last Thursday's game in San Diego.
That was the game that left Zack Greinke with a broken collarbone because of a benches-clearing fight. Capuano said his calf worsened sprinting from the bullpen to the infield during the brawl.
Capuano, who opened the season in the bullpen, took four days of treatment and believed he was healthy enough to take Greinke's start, but was injured in the second inning covering first base and placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Capuano did not accompany the club to Baltimore, and manager Don Mattingly said he did not know if Capuano would join the club in New York next week.
Under different circumstances, Puig could be with club
BALTIMORE -- Yasiel Puig might have been called up by the Dodgers from the Minor Leagues this weekend if the schedule had them playing two Interleague Series instead of just one in Baltimore, manager Don Mattingly said Friday.
Mattingly said if the old Interleague schedule that clustered series between American League and National League clubs was still in place, it might have resulted in a "different conversation" internally.
But with only a three-game series in Baltimore, the club decided to keep the Cuban sensation at Double-A Chattanooga.
Mattingly said that calling up Puig to "light a fire" would "feel like panic." And in NL games, Puig wouldn't start ahead of corner outfielders Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier. Mattingly also indicated he doesn't consider Puig a natural fit for center field, where the struggling Matt Kemp starts.
He added that when decisions like this are made on a young player still in development, "it involves a group decision ... not by-the-Major-League-manager decision."
"We don't know," he said. "You could give him a year and a half in the Minors and he could still fall on his face. You just don't know."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.