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Dodgers put Manny Ramirez on the disabled list for the third time this season; out three weeks [Updated]

July 20, 2010 |  6:25 pm

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It’s not easy getting old, or at least being a 38-year-old Manny Ramirez.

For the third time this season, the Dodgers have placed Ramirez on the disabled list with a bad right leg.

Ramirez was put on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 17 before Tuesday’s game with a strained right calf, though the Dodgers said he’s expected to be out three weeks.

That would leave Ramirez unable to play until Aug. 9, at which time he would likely need a rehabilitation assignment.

Manager Joe Torre said he was certain Ramirez would be back at some point this season. Ramirez had just been activated from the DL with a sore right hamstring on July 15.

The next day he left the game in the first inning with what was described as right calf tightness after simply running to second on a pop up. An MRI Tuesday revealed the strain.

"That’s why it wouldn’t go away, it was something more than just mild, I guess," Torre said.

The Dodgers activated Brad Ausmus to take his place on the roster, temporarily giving them three catchers. At least for Tuesday, it gives then a much-needed right-handed bat off the bench.

Ausmus has been out all but four games after undergoing back surgery in April. Catcher A.J. Ellis could be sent down Wednesday if another outfielder is called up.

The Dodgers already have outfielder Reed Johnson on the disabled list with lower back strain. He’s not eligible to come off the DL until Friday.

"The player we bring up is probably going to be here until Reed comes back," Torre said.

The Dodgers have only one other outfielder on their 40-man roster, Trayvon Robinson who’s at double-A Chattanooga. The Dodgers, however, have room to add someone to their 40-man roster if they elected to call up an outfielder from triple-A Albuquerque.

Most troubling for the Dodgers has to be their inability to count on Ramirez. This is the third time his right leg has sent him to the disabled list. He went on April 23 with a right calf strain (though a different calf muscle). It is the second time this month he’s gone on the DL, having previously been disabled July 3 with a sore right hamstring.

"You never want to get used to it, you always expect him to come back,’" Torre said. "That’s the issue, you’re still anticipating him coming back. I know this was a big disappointment just by the virtue we just got him back off the list. And nothing really happened, but it was worse than we first thought."

Ramirez was also dogged by leg injuries in his final days with Boston in 2008, the seriousness of which was at contention with the Red Sox and one of the factors that led to his trade to the Dodgers.

If the Dodgers were considering trading Ramirez for a starting pitcher, Tuesday’s third move to the DL can’t help his value. Plus, Ramirez has the rest of his prorated $20 million for this season coming.

Though Ramirez hasn’t displayed the electric power he demonstrated when he first came to the Dodgers, he has still been highly productive -- .317, eight home runs, 39 RBIs in 186 at-bats -- when actually healthy.

Torre said the Dodgers would continue to start rookie Xavier Paul in left field in place of Ramirez, except against some left-handed pitchers.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez looks on from the dugout against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 18. Credit: Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images

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