Dodgers’ Yohan Ramirez has turned things around since rough start

NEW YORK – Six of the first eight batters Yohan Ramirez faced as a Dodger reached base. He hit four of them with pitches, walked another and gave up a single as well.

Then Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came out to the mound in Cincinnati, put his arm around Ramrez’s shoulders and spoke into his ear, expressing his confidence in the pitcher and leaving him in the game with the bases loaded.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was not in Cincinnati but was watching on television. As Roberts walked back to the dugout, Friedman reached for his phone and texted his manager, telling him it was an “amazing” moment and one Friedman had never seen before.

“I think one of Doc’s great strengths is helping players feel relaxed and confident which in turn allows for the best chance for their ability to shine through,” Friedman said Sunday. “There’s no question that helped Yohan in a significant way.”

There is no doubt statistically. Ramirez has faced 22 batters since that moment (including retiring one to end that inning). Only four have reached base – three base hits and one walk. He retired the side in the 11th inning of Friday’s 2-1 win at Yankee Stadium, earning his first save since the 2022 season.

“It’s him. He’s got confidence,” Roberts said of the turnaround for Ramirez who was designated for assignment twice by the New York Mets this season and waived by the Baltimore Orioles in between.

“The pitching coaches have done a great job with him, working through some mechanical things. He’s come up big for us and I couldn’t be more happy for him.”

That work has been a continuation of the reassurance Roberts offered, according to assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness.

“Quite frankly, it’s just been telling him how good his stuff is,” McGuiness said of the message to Ramirez since he arrived in the Dodgers’ bullpen. “Ask any hitter around the league, it’s not a really comfortable at-bat. He’s got a little Joe Kelly in him.”

McGuiness said the pitching coaches have been “simply showing” Ramirez what his sinker-slider combination can do then “finding locations that fit his throw” to attack hitters.

“It’s showing him the power of his arsenal,” McGuiness said. Despite his travels – the Dodgers are his seventh team – Ramirez has had success at the major-league level. In his career,  right-handed hitters have batted just .192 against him.

Roberts won’t take credit for his hug producing Ramirez’s positive results recently. But he mind if those results continue in a bullpen still missing three injured right-handers (Kelly, Brusdar Graterol and Ryan Brasier).

“I hope so,” Roberts said. “All players need to feel comfortable to perform their best. He was going through it at that time. He was DFAed a couple different times. In sports, you don’t hear ‘love’ very often but I just wanted to love on him.

“That was just a moment we had. After that, I think some things were just freed up for him and he’s performed – the strike-throwing, the teethiness of all his pitches. Obviously he’s all in for whatever I ask of him. He’s been very additive.”


Roberts said right-hander Brusdar Graterol has progressed far enough in his throwing program to throw a bullpen session at Camelback Ranch in Arizona earlier this week. Graterol has not pitched this season due to shoulder pain.

Right-hander Bobby Miller will make his next start on Thursday – “I don’t know if it’s with us or OKC.”. That hasn’t been decided yet, according to Roberts. Miller made his third rehab start Friday night with Triple-A Oklahoma City, throwing 85 pitches and getting into the fifth inning. Miller has been out since April 10 with shoulder soreness.

“If I had to guess, he’ll probably make one more (rehab start),” Roberts said Sunday.

Right-hander Dustin May is in Arizona continuing to throw bullpen sessions as part of his recovery from elbow surgery last year. But Roberts noted May’s velocity when throwing off the mound has been “north of 90 (mph).”


Shohei Ohtani has continued his throwing program every other day but recently increased the distance out to nearly 70 feet. He will progress to long-tossing before moving back in again to start incorporating breaking pitches then throwing off a mound. He is not expected to reach that stage until September.


The Dodgers are off Monday.

Rangers (TBA) at Dodgers (LHP James Paxton, 5-1, 4.29 ERA), Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM

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