LOS ANGELES -- Shortstop Hanley Ramirez returned to the Dodgers' lineup for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night despite being diagnosed with a hairline fracture of his eighth rib. While the Dodgers are frustrated by the timing of the injury, they maintain their belief that there was no intent by Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly to hit Ramirez in Game 1.
"There hasn't been talk of it being intentional," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said on Monday. "I don't think it was. Most of the time, you can tell when somebody's trying to intentionally do something. The Cardinals are a class organization, and you don't really see it. I've never really felt that from them. That's not the way they go about their business. They're trying to get you out. They're trying to beat you. I don't fear any retaliation."
The timing and circumstances of the plunking certainly did not suggest anything intentional. Kelly had Ramirez in a 1-2 count with a runner at first in the opening inning of Game 1 of the NLCS. By hitting Ramirez, Kelly pushed a runner into scoring position for cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez.
Kelly fought his command at other points in the inning, too. He unloaded a wild pitch before stranding two in the 20-pitch scoreless frame. Afterward, Kelly admitted to being too amped up and high on emotion as he made the first NLCS start of his career.
The Dodgers saw much of the same.
"The guy was really geared up," said Dodgers reserve Jerry Hairston, who isn't on Los Angeles' NLCS roster. "It's an emotional game and the first game of the series. The ball just got away from him. We know in here that he was not trying to throw at him. It's just unfortunate that Hanley's hurt. We are hoping that he will be ready to go. We know how important he is to our lineup."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.