Ramirez originally suffered the injury the first week of the season in Pittsburgh, aggravated it last week and missed two starts over the weekend against the Giants, then reinjured it again running to first base on a single in an 8-5 loss to the Reds on Thursday night. He underwent an MRI Friday.
Xavier Paul, hitting .361 at Triple-A Albuquerque with three homers and nine RBIs in 15 games, was called up to replace Ramirez, who is hitting .415 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 13 games. Torre said Garret Anderson and Reed Johnson would split the bulk of time replacing Ramirez, with Paul also getting an occasional start.
Apparently, Ramirez convinced club officials that the injury needed more than a few days off. It's only the third time he's been disabled in a 17-season career and the first time since he broke his left index finger in 2002. Torre said he "hoped" Ramirez would return in the minimum 15 days.
"Stan [Conte, trainer] called today and told me the nature of the strain and that Manny felt he needed some time with this thing," said Torre. "The last time he missed two or three days, and it was not as bad as it is now. His thought process has probably been, he gets treatment every day and it hasn't gone away.
"He's played long enough to understand certain things are a little irritant, and in the American League, you have the option of the designated hitter. I think he understands there's a lot of games left that we need to pay attention to."
Torre called disabling Ramirez "the most prudent way" to handle a nagging injury early in the season, removing the temptation to both player and manager to risk another setback.
Conte said the MRI revealed a strain to the inside part of the calf with swelling.
"It's what we expected, not better or worse," Conte said. "Manny felt he needed some time, and it was a re-injury. We need to reduce the swelling and get the flexibility and strength back."
Torre said losing Ramirez to injury for a couple weeks is not comparable to losing him for 50 games last year, when he was suspended for violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
"We're losing him a couple weeks, but he can still be around," said Torre, although it hasn't been decided if Ramirez will accompany the club to New York on Sunday night or return to Los Angeles.
"This is completely different. That was like somebody pulling the rug out from under you."
Torre said the injury didn't stop Ramirez from taking batting practice in the indoor cage Friday.
"I told him to pick up a book," said Torre. "Old habits die hard."
Last year the Dodgers went 59-40 with Ramirez in the starting lineup and 34-27 without him.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.