- Associated Press
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Hanley Ramirez will miss one less game because of his sprained left shoulder.

Ramirez was sent back to Florida on Wednesday for an MRI on the shoulder he hurt a night earlier but he didn’t have to sit out after all. The Marlins and New York Mets were postponed by rain later that night.

The three-time All-Star shortstop sprained his shoulder Tuesday night while diving for a pop fly to shallow left. He likely will come back during the upcoming four-game series against Florida in St. Louis.

“If I had to believe what the trainer told me, I would feel he is going to get into the Cardinals series, somewhere,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “I could be wrong but that’s my gut feeling right now.”

No makeup date has been announced, but the teams meet for a four-game series at Citi Field from Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

The postponement Wednesday was the 37th rainout this season in the major leagues. There were only 21 all last year, according to STATS LLC. The clubs were also rained out on May 17.

Wednesday’s starter Clay Hensley will be pushed back to Thursday against St. Louis. Mets starter Dillon Gee will have to wait until Sunday in order to keep R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese on schedule for their series against NL East-rival Atlanta, with Dickey going in the opener Friday.

“I hate having a change in the routine and all the days rest, and it throws everything off, but it doesn’t concern me,” said Gee, the Mets’ scheduled starter Wednesday. “Kind of throws you off but it will be nice to have a couple of days off.”

Ramirez, the 2009 NL batting champion, was on the disabled list earlier this season with a lower back strain and is having an off year. He is hitting .243 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs. But he has surged since McKeon took over as manager on June 20.

On June 21, McKeon made Ramirez the No. 4 hitter and he has hit .304 with six homers and 28 RBIs.

The Marlins have been on quite a run, too.

With a 4-3, ninth-inning comeback victory Tuesday, they reached .500 (55-55) for the first time since June 12. Florida was 10 games under on July 5.

Even the rainout worked in the Marlins’ favor.

“The good thing for us is that we can go out of LaGuardia before midnight,” McKeon said of the nearby airport. “If we had a long rain delay, we would’ve had to fly out of Newark (N.J.), which is a longer trip.”

The Mets, on the other hand, have hit a rough patch, losing four in a row after a five-game winning streak _ three of those losses coming late in the game.

The Mets tied it in the ninth on Scott Hairston’s homer Sunday only to lose in Washington when the Nationals rallied in the bottom half. On Monday, the Mets did it again: Lucas Duda hit a tying two-run shot in the ninth and lost in the 10th. Then they blew a one-run lead in the ninth on Tuesday night.

The challenge for manager Terry Collins is keeping his team’s spirits up.

“This is the toughest part of the year there is no question during the heat of the summer and then there’s 20 in a row,” Collins said. “We tried to make sure the load is lightened up a little for ‘em, continue to try and be as positive as you can.”

NOTES: Florida has won seven of the first 10 meetings between the teams this year and is 4-0 at Citi Field. … Mets ace Johan Santana will return to New York Thursday afternoon to have his surgically repaired shoulder examined. He has lingering discomfort in the shoulder after making his first rehab start. … Marlins ace Josh Johnson (right shoulder inflammation) threw for 5 minutes from 60 feet. He hasn’t pitched since May 16. … Marlins INF Emilio Bonifacio was named NL Player of the Month for July.

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