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Yohan Ramirez ‘surprised’ and encouraged by Dave Roberts’ mid-game message – Orange County Register

Dodgers pitcher Yohan Ramírez is hugged by manager Dave Roberts after hitting the Reds’ Stuart Fairchild with a pitch during the eighth inning, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

NEW YORK — Given the way things were going for him, Yohan Ramirez couldn’t have been surprised to see Dave Roberts come out of the Dodgers dugout in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds .

Acquired for cash considerations after the New York Mets designated him for assignment last week, Ramirez was a mess in his first game for the Dodgers on Friday. He threw 13 pitches. Only one was a strike as he hit two batters and walked another.

Sunday’s round started better. He struck out the first two batters – but he struck out the next two, making them four of the first eight batters he faced in a Dodgers uniform.

That’s when Roberts left the Dodgers dugout. But he wasn’t coming to eliminate Ramírez from the match. Instead, the Dodgers manager threw his arms around the 6-foot-4 Ramirez’s neck, pulled him down and spoke in his ear.

“No, that never happened to me,” Ramirez said through an interpreter Tuesday. “Honestly, my whole time in baseball, it was one of the best times, one of the best managers I’ve ever had. For him to do something like that, it made me feel like he was more of a mother or father figure.

Ramirez said Roberts told him, “He believes in me, he believes in my talent, that I’m an elite pitcher. I just need to trust my stuff. Ramirez said he was “very surprised” that Roberts delivered that message at that time.

“I come with a lot of baggage: After I got the DFA, I played on a lot of different teams,” Ramirez said. “I came here to the Dodger organization trying to prove myself, trying to do a little too much. Him freeing me from this burden and giving me this peace was very relaxing and gave me a lot of confidence.

Ramirez, 29, came to the Dodgers at a low point in his career. He had already passed through six organizations and been designated for assignment several times – twice by the Mets this season with a brief stop in Baltimore in between.

“It was really difficult. Moving between teams and getting the DFA was very difficult,” Ramirez said. “But my confidence hasn’t wavered. I tried to do my job. I tried to do everything I needed to do to prepare myself to be the best I could be and I feel like I had periods where I was really good. I know that I can have confidence in myself, that I can be really good and that I can help this team – help them on the road, help them win a World Series.

“I know how talented I can be and how much I can help the team. But I also feel like a weight was lifted from me from that moment on. After he came to the mound, I felt rejuvenated with a different confidence.

Ramirez retired the next batter he faced after Roberts’ visit. The Dodgers have already faced 27 pitchers this season, so Ramirez’s chances of being one of those remaining are questionable. However, the Dodgers know how to identify the one thing a pitcher does well and maximize or exploit it. In Ramirez’s case, he has limited right-handed hitters to a .193 batting average during his career.

“It was more mental, trying to prove myself, trying to do too much to show organization,” he said of the struggles he faced in his first two outings with the Dodgers. “It was a little out of character. I was just trying to be too good, trying to show the organization that I could do the job. Now, in the future, I will put less pressure on that and just focus on my work.

OHTANI OFF

Shohei Ohtani was in the lineup for the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Citi Field. But Roberts said he wouldn’t appear in Game 2, either as a DH or as a pinch hitter.

Mindful of the bruised hamstring Ohtani played on, Roberts said he didn’t want Ohtani to “fire up, get hot (for the first game) … then cool down and go again doesn’t have a lot of sense. .”

Ohtani said Monday that his hamstring is improving day by day and estimates he is 90 percent recovered.

Ohtani was injured when he was hit in the back of the left leg by a putout attempt during the May 16 Dodgers game.

RANCHO REHABILITATION

Pitchers Bobby Miller and Evan Phillips began minor league injury rehabilitation assignments Sunday with Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

Out since April 10 due to a sore shoulder, Miller allowed three runs on four hits and two walks in three innings while striking out four. He threw 55 pitches.

Out since May 3 with a hamstring injury, Phillips retired the team in order during his inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Roberts said Phillips is expected to make another appearance in rehab and join the Dodgers when they return to Los Angeles on Friday.