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He's Back! (Almost)

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Manny Ramirez observing a moment of silence for former Dodger pitcher Jose Lima before the game on May 23, 2010. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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.

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“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.”

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.

Travis Schlichting Is Back. With Vicente Padilla on the 15-day disabled list with a bulging disk in the neck, the Dodgers brought up Travis Schlichting from Triple-A Albuquerque. Since being sent back down to Albuquerque on August 1, he has been working on his slider on pitching coach Rick Honeycutt’s recommendation.

“I’ve messed with a lot of different grips,” Schlichting said. “I found one that I like right now. I wanted something more of a natural slider than a slurvish slider.”

“You certainly don’t want that hitter up there knowing that you only have to look for one pitch,” Torre said. “The more weapons you have, probably the better chance you have.”

Schlichting will most likely be used for multiple innings along with Ronald Belisario.

“Those are the guys that will have to make up for losing the long men out of the bullpen,” Torre added.

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Lineup

Cincinnati Reds

  1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  2. Laynce Nix, LF
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Scott Rolen, 3B
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Ryan Hanigan, C
  7. Drew Stubbs, CF
  8. Paul Janish, SS
  9. Homer Bailey, P

LA Dodgers

  1. Scott Podsednik, LF
  2. Ryan Theriot, 2B
  3. Andre Ethier, RF
  4. James Loney, 1B
  5. Matt Kemp, CF
  6. Casey Blake, 3B
  7. Jamey Carroll, SS
  8. Brad Ausmus, C
  9. Carlos Monasterios, P