Bits: No worries about Hanley Ramirez 

May, 1, 2013
While one of the best shortstops in baseball was still out of the lineup nursing a shoulder injury Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, another top shortstop made his first start of the season. Ultimately, it was no big deal that Colorado Rockies slugger Troy Tulowitzki missed another game; in fact, he could return Wednesday. But it was great news to see Los Angeles Dodgers star Hanley Ramirez not only back so soon in the starting lineup, but hitting a home run in his first at-bat and later adding a double.

Ramirez is an underrated fantasy option, but give him credit for returning to active duty quicker than originally expected, especially with many questioning his motivation and drive the past few seasons. Fantasy owners certainly appreciate it. Remember, Ramirez famously tore a thumb ligament during the World Baseball Classic in mid-March; surgery was needed and he was expected to miss up to 10 weeks. Ramirez had surgery March 22, but he returned before end of April. Hopefully you had him active Tuesday.

[+] EnlargeHanley Ramirez
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesHanley Ramirez finished 42nd among all hitters on the ESPN Player Rater in 2012.
Before suffering the injury, Ramirez was in my top 20 overall, but he slipped past the 10th round in many leagues afterward, a combination of the threat of missing up to two months -- one-third of the season -- and declining skills being analyzed a bit too far. After all, Ramirez hit only .257 for the Dodgers and Miami Marlins last season, a year after hitting .243 and dealing with injury, and his strikeout rate was a career worst in 2012. Ah, but there's a caveat: Only 10 players hit 20 or more home runs and stole 20 or more bases last season, and he was one of only three middle infielders to achieve this (along with Jimmy Rollins and Ian Desmond).