LOS ANGELES -- Hanley Ramirez was held out of the Dodgers' lineup for a seventh straight game on Wednesday because of a troublesome left hamstring but pinch-hit in the ninth inning of a 12-inning loss to the D-backs and is expected to start at shortstop on Friday, when the club opens a three-game series in Pittsburgh.
Ramirez ran the bases before Wednesday's game, took batting practice and fielded ground balls. He did not have any soreness or limitations from his bothersome hamstring. Ramirez pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded into a double play.
"He was close to getting himself in the lineup today with what he was able to do before the game," manager Don Mattingly said after the Dodgers lost, 8-6. "I think we tried to err on the side of caution tonight with the off day tomorrow. I'm planning on starting him Friday, unless something happens between here and there."
Ramirez missed 28 games with a strained left hamstring before he was activated from the disabled list last Tuesday. He started two games and pinch-hit in the next three but hadn't appeared in a game since Saturday.
Nick Punto and Luis Cruz have filled in for Ramirez at shortstop over the past week.
Puig enters in 12th after sitting with shoulder strain
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig was scratched from the Dodgers' lineup on Wednesday because of a strained right shoulder, but the outfielder had treatment throughout the game and felt good enough to enter in the final frame of a 12-inning loss to the D-backs.
Puig came off the bench to play right field in the top of the 12th as part of a double switch. Cliff Pennington promptly singled to right and Puig fired home, holding a runner at third. It was quite a turnaround for Puig, who began the day with a sore throwing shoulder.
"Obviously, you see that throw was pretty good," manager Don Mattingly said after the Dodgers lost, 8-6.
Puig was pacing in the Dodgers' dugout with a bat in hand in the bottom of the ninth with the score knotted at 4, though Mattingly elected to use Hanley Ramirez as a pinch-hitter instead.
"He was excited," the manager said of Puig. "He was ready. Maybe he thought I was going to pinch-hit him earlier."
In the bottom of the 12th, Puig singled to left on the first pitch he saw from Arizona closer Heath Bell. The Cuban moved to second on Skip Schumaker's walk, took third on Nick Punto's groundout and scored on Mark Ellis' grounder to the right side.
After warming up with the rest of the team before the game, Puig took five swings in the batting cage and then walked off the field in frustration. He ducked into the Dodgers' clubhouse and later emerged without his jersey but again returned to the clubhouse without doing any further baseball activities.
Puig's shoulder strain could be a related to his involvement in Tuesday's benches-clearing incident with the D-backs. During the seventh-inning melee, Puig threw several punches and had to be restrained by teammates before he was ejected from the game.
"Yasiel was a little sore," Mattingly said before Wednesday's game. "I'm not sure what all that was from."
Puig, who did not speak to reporters on Wednesday, also had a leg cramp Tuesday, though that didn't keep him off the field, and he was grazed on the nose by a 92-mph fastball from D-backs starter Ian Kennedy.
Puig had started every game in right since he was recalled from Double-A Chattanooga last Monday. In his first 10 Major League games, Puig is hiting .486 with four home runs and 10 RBIs.
Alex Castellanos started in right and went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Jerry Hairston replaced Puig in the cleanup spot and went 0-for-5.
A.J. Ellis wrapping up rehab; Kemp taking BP
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis is on track to come off the disabled list Friday, but injured outfielder Matt Kemp doesn't have a timetable to begin a Minor League rehab assignment.
Ellis played in his second and final rehab game on Wednesday as the designated hitter with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, going 0-for-3. He will travel with the Dodgers to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night and is expected to be activated for the opener of a three-game series that begins Friday, manager Don Mattingly said.
Ellis, out with a strained left oblique since May 30, began his rehab assignment on Tuesday and went 0-for-4 as the designated hitter for the Quakes.
"Yesterday he crossed off pretty much everything he needed to," Mattingly said Wednesday before the Dodgers' game against the D-backs.
As for Kemp, Mattingly said he didn't know when the center fielder would be ready to play in rehab games. Kemp, on the disabled list since May 30 with a strained right hamstring, took batting practice on Wednesday and did some light running at Dodger Stadium.
"He's still kind of progressing," Mattingly said. "It's just going to be a matter of him saying he's OK to go out. I know we want to be careful. We don't want him to go backwards."
No worries? Scheduling trip to Australia far from easy
LOS ANGELES -- The landmark announcement that the Dodgers will play the D-backs in Australia to open the 2014 regular season comes with some logistical challenges, as Dodgers president Stan Kasten described.
The Dodgers will play a Spring Training game in Arizona on Sunday, March 16, then fly 17 hours and arrive in Sydney on the following Tuesday morning. The team will be off Wednesday, have a workout Thursday, play an exhibition game against a local Australian team on Friday, then be the visiting team against Arizona for the first two regular-season games at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Dodgers will fly back to California after the Sunday game, arriving the same day. They will be off Monday, work out Tuesday and Wednesday, play three Freeway Series exhibition games against the Angels on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, then have an off-day Sunday before resuming the regular season on Monday.
Kasten confirmed that players will receive a payment above their salary for participating in the series through an agreement negotiated by the Players Association. Kasten said the club could schedule a second exhibition game in Australia if it chooses.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.