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Hanley declares himself ahead of schedule

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SAN DIEGO -- Nobody with the Dodgers will say Hanley Ramirez is ahead of schedule in his recovery from right thumb surgery, except Ramirez.

"A couple weeks ahead," said Ramirez, who had surgery for a torn ligament on March 21, and was expected to miss eight weeks.

Ramirez has already had one longer cast replaced by a shorter one that allows him to throw a baseball. That cast comes off later this week, then he will begin strengthening exercises.

But Ramirez said when doctors took off the first cast, they performed a test that determined the ligament was healing well. Ramirez said he's been swinging one-handed in the cage, while taking ground balls regularly at shortstop during infield drills.

"I haven't heard any date. I haven't asked, either," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's still a ways away. He's not throwing-throwing, but he's been able to do a lot of stuff baseball-wise, one-handed stuff, quite a bit of baseball stuff. Hopefully that shortens the timetable of him being sharp when he comes back."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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