LOS ANGELES -- The comparisons are easy to make. They were both acquired right before the Trade Deadline, they both play with an unmistakable smile and they both have the same last name. Despite all that, Hanley Ramirez is not Manny Ramirez, and manager Don Mattingly is trying hard to keep the expectations manageable to make the transition as easy as possible.
In 2008, Manny nearly single-handedly lifted the Dodgers into the playoffs with a huge second half after leaving Boston. He hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs with Los Angeles while captivating the entire city.
Hanley has injected life into the Dodgers lineup since last week's trade, going 7-for-21 with a double, triple, home run, five runs and seven RBIs entering Monday. The numbers have the Dodgers excited, but Mattingly doesn't want the infielder to get too caught up in the comparisons with a pair of star players in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier around to alleviate the pressure.
Mattingly said he didn't expect the Dodgers to re-sign Manny after trading for him, so he felt as if the outfielder was coming as a rental. As for Hanley, Mattingly views him as part of the team's future.
"The blaze that Manny came in with, it's hard to live up to that," he said. "I'd really rather him just come and play, be himself and be comfortable."
That approach with Hanley extends to the field, where he has played third base since coming to the Dodgers.
Ramirez has been taking ground balls at both shortstop and third base, and Mattingly is taking a cautious approach with the infielder in a new atmosphere. He played shortstop his first six years in Miami before moving to third base this season, and he said he feels fine playing both positions.
"It's kind of tough getting back to a new position when you are trying to play a new one already," said Mattingly. "You are in a new club, a new situation with new surroundings, we are trying keep him as comfortable as possible."