LOS ANGELES — Hanley Ramirez will start for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the NL championship series despite a broken left rib.
“I’d do anything for this team,” he said.
Ramirez was down to bat third and play shortstop in Monday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, and Andre Ethier was slated to hit fifth and play center field.
Ramirez wore a lightweight flak jacket as he took swings during batting practice and fielded groundballs before the game. St. Louis entered with a 2-0 series lead.
“It’s just for protection. They told me that if I want to play, I’ve got to wear it,” Ramirez said. “They don’t want anything worse to happen, so I’m just going to wear it.”
The three-time All-Star said team medical director Stan Conte left it up to him whether to play.
“I’m not feeling 100 percent, but I feel good enough to go out there tonight and get our first win,” Ramirez said. “I took some painkiller to make it feel batter.”
Manager Don Mattingly said a CT scan revealed Ramirez has a hairline fracture of his ribcage.
“It’s not dangerous if he tries to play,” Mattingly said. “It’s just a painful thing and it could be a week, it could be two weeks before this thing is gone.”
Mattingly said it was a busy 48 hours trying to do everything possible to get Ramirez on the field, including talking to the NFL about using the kind of padded protective gear worn by running backs.
Ramirez said he couldn’t sleep Sunday night.
“I know it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “I’m going to keep everybody relaxed, and keep Mattingly relaxed. He needs to laugh.”
Ramirez got hit by a pitch in Game 1, but stayed in for the entire 13 innings as the Dodgers lost 3-2. He batted .500 in the NL division series against Atlanta and tied the club’s postseason record with six extra-base hits.
Ethier, put in the lineup following a batting practice evaluation, has neen bothered by shin splints and was limited to pinch hitting in the Dodgers’ 1-0 loss in Game 2. Ethier has a .300 career batting average against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.