Hanley hot but hindered?

After going 2-for-5 on Friday night, Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to six straight games. He’s raised his batting average from .245 to .279 over that stretch.

But is all well?

Maybe not. While Ramirez is getting his timing down at the plate, he seems to be experiencing some lower back discomfort. Players commonly deal with bumps and bruises, and Ramirez certainly has played through the years with pain. For most of the second half of 2007, he dealt with a left shoulder problem that required surgery after that season.

Now, for about a week, dating at least to the series at Washington, from April 17-19, Ramirez has been icing his lower back. 

Perhaps that’s a reason Ramirez wasn’t running at full-speed on his double in the fifth inning on Friday, on a ball he seemed to think was going over the wall for a homer. He also didn’t tag up from second on Ross Gload’s fly ball out in the same inning. But Ramirez did try to steal third in that frame, but he was thrown out.

“I got a bad jump,” Ramirez said of Saturday about his steal attempt.

Asked if his back is bothering him, Ramirez said no, which isn’t surprising because aren’t always willing to reveal their ailments.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he had a discussion with Ramirez on Saturday, but didn’t say what was talked about.

Even with some discomfort, Ramirez has continued playing. It just looks like he’s not running like he did when he was swiping 51 bases in each of 2006 and 2007.

– Joe Frisaro

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