"I feel better today," he said. "I'm not 26 anymore."
Ramirez turns 37 on May 30. He played in 153 games last year, split between Boston and the Dodgers. That was the most he'd played since 2003, when he played in a career-high 154. He's missed two of the Dodgers' 26 games this year and is on pace to play 150 games, although manager Joe Torre said he will try to give Ramirez more rest -- reluctantly.
"I try not to think about it," Torre said of making out lineups without Ramirez in them. "Once the weather heats up, I'll look at it. You have to pick your spot. Ideally, we score a lot of runs and get him out of there by the sixth inning."
On Sunday, Torre granted Ramirez's request for a day off, but it also was a day he had already planned to rest shortstop Rafael Furcal, third baseman Casey Blake and catcher Russell Martin.
"We had a pretty good bench yesterday," Torre said.
Half of his starting position players were reserves Juan Pierre, Brad Ausmus, Mark Loretta and Juan Castro, and the Dodgers completed their sweep of San Diego, 7-3.
"I'll try to give Manny [the day] off by himself," Torre said. "What helps is that the bench players have been regular players ... they legitimize days off and that helps my confidence. "
Torre has held to his plan of giving Furcal regular days off because of last year's back surgery, and it usually is on a day game following a night game. This week, that would be Saturday's day game following Friday's night game. Torre said he'd try to utilize a similar strategy for Ramirez, but it might be backward, giving him the night game off before a day game.
Torre said pitching matchups and historical stats might influence his decisions for giving days off.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.