For a team that ranks second-to-last in runs scored, any sort of news that helps the offense is considered a huge positive.
And positive it is, as Hanley Ramirez appears to be on track to return by the end of April. His original timetable called for a mid-late May return, but after a great session of BP at Camden Yards before Friday night's rainout, even Don Mattingly acknowledged how smooth he looked hitting.
What Mattingly does want is a rehab assignment for a couple games, probably in a week or so . Ramirez initially stated he didn't think he'd need to, but I don't think a day or two in the minors is a big deal. I'm sure he'll go along with it.
What might hold up his return is throwing to first, as that appeared to be the bigger issue on Friday. He looked somewhat "ginger" making throws across the diamond, but that might only be natural after not using his thumb since surgery on March 22.
Before the season started, one of my key points for the Dodgers was hoping that Ramirez wouldn't rush himself back. Well, here we are on April 20, the Dodgers are 7-8, the offense stinks, and Ramirez wants to be back in the lineup about three weeks early. We just have to trust the medical staff that this is the right thing to do, and won't be a Matt Kemp-like story from last season where he clearly came back too soon from a hamstring injury, only to be shelved again a game or two later.
I'll keep you updated once a rehab assignment becomes a reality.