SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was not in the starting lineup Thursday, but he said his bruised hand had improved enough overnight that he expects to play Friday night vs. the D-backs at Dodger Stadium.
"I'm not going to try to play tomorrow. I'm going to be there," said Ramirez, who was struck on the back of the left hand by a Ryan Vogelsong fastball Wednesday night. X-rays were negative.
The injury is to Ramirez's bottom hand when he grips a bat. Because he represented the go-ahead run leading off the top of the seventh inning, Ramirez said he did not believe the pitch was intentional.
"Everybody knows it wasn't on purpose," he said. "It's part of the game."
Ramirez said he believes his teammates protect him. Manager Don Mattingly said opponents generally pitch Ramirez inside, as most teams do with most dangerous hitters.
"Guys that can hit, you want them off the plate," he said. "We pay attention. We'll protect our guys."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.