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Hanley Ramirez injury: Dodgers 3B could return 'way sooner' than expected

A special splint has allowed Ramirez to take batting practice and take ground balls with no pain, helping speed up the recovery time.

Rob Tringali

The left side of the Los Angeles Dodgers' infield is in peril, but help may be on the way. Third baseman Hanley Ramirez, who has been out since late March with a broken right thumb, could return to the club "way sooner" than originally expected, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN.

Ramirez, 29, underwent surgery on his thumb on March 22, a few days after fracturing it in the World Baseball Classic. At the time, the Dodgers planned for Han-Ram to make his 2013 debut some time in late May, but as he's already taking batting practice and fielding grounders, it's very probable that he'll rejoin the club much sooner.

Soem of the reason for Ramirez's quick recovery may be the special splint he's been outfitted with that allows him to take part in hitting and fielding drills without having to worry about pain in his thumb. Ramirez wouldn't give any idea as to when exactly he hopes to return, but seems very optimistic about his recovery:

"It's awesome. No pain, nothing," Ramirez said. "Definitely it's going to happen way sooner than it's supposed to..."

Ramirez's return can't really come soon enough for the Dodgers, who have been relying on some combination of Justin Sellers, Juan Uribe, and Luis Cruz to man the left side of the infield. Uribe's paltry .214 batting average is the best the trio has had to offer thus far on offense, leaving the club rather hapless on the left side.

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