Hanley starts at third but will see time at shortstop

Hanley starts at third but will see time at shortstop

ST. LOUIS -- Hanley Ramirez started at third base again for the Dodgers on Thursday, but manager Don Mattingly said the newcomer's move to his original position of shortstop is still a definite.

"We talked this morning," Mattingly said of Ramirez. "I don't have a time frame when. For me, I know it sounds easy to just move over there, but the guy spent all spring playing nothing but third base, working his butt off. It sounds easy, like on every Little League field you just slip back over there. But you don't want to go out and embarrass yourself."

Mattingly has quickly become known as a player's manager for taking positions like this, but he insisted he's not concerned about Ramirez's willingness to help the club as the club sees fit.

"Before the acquisition of Hanley, [general manager] Ned [Colletti] did a lot of talking to make sure he's comfortable at either spot," Mattingly said. "If he said, 'Absolutely not, I don't want to be in L.A. and don't want to play there,' he wouldn't be here right now. We had to get a commitment from him. We were making a big commitment to him."

Mattingly said once Ramirez moves to shortstop, he will stay there at least until Dee Gordon returns from the disabled list in mid-August. Mattingly has left open whether Ramirez at that time will remain at shortstop or move to third base, but the skipper has said he won't move Ramirez back and forth between the two positions.

The reason Mattingly wants Ramirez at shortstop now is that the Dodgers have more players capable of playing third base (Jerry Hairston, Luis Cruz, Juan Uribe and Ramirez) than players capable of playing shortstop (Hairston, Cruz and Ramirez), so he can mix and match at third more easily.