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He's Back! (Almost)

Manny Ramirez observing a moment of silence for former Dodger pitcher Jose Lima before the game against the Detroit Tigers on May 23, 2010. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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The return of Manny Ramirez is imminent. And by imminent it means he may be back on the team tomorrow.

“It’s possible,” manager Joe Torre said. “I talked to Manny today. The plan as of right this minute he’s going to go play the outfield hopefully for six, six-plus innings at least. We’ll see how we feel, then we’ll make a decision.”

Ramirez has played two games for Class-A Inland Empire 66ers going 1-for-2 Wednesday night with a strikeout and a walk as a designated hitter and 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk Thursday night playing left field while fielding two fly balls cleanly.

“So far so good,” Torre evaluated. “He said he felt good. I just told him we need to have a little more of a read on how he would be able to handle the outfield stuff.”

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Manny’s return will mark a roster move for a standing-room only outfield, and Torre is still unsure how that will pan out.

“Until I get Manny back and know we have him back, I haven’t made a plan,” Torre said. “And I have a sense that the plan will be based on a lot of match-up stuff.

“We have to see how much sense it would make and how much you include [Ramirez] as far as on a day-to-day basis is he going to be able go out there two days in a row and play nine innings. I think we’re going to have to find that stuff out. If he’s healthy, I think he’s going to make a difference as far as giving us a threat in the middle of the lineup.”

All of this means that Jay Gibbons could be the odd man out. In eight games played Gibbons has a .375 batting average with a homer and four RBI. However he wouldn’t be out for long since Major League rosters expand to 40 men on September 1.