Torre: Manny won't be Manny right away
Skipper says slugger will need a week or so to readapt
LOS ANGELES -- Suspended outfielder Manny Ramirez's Minor League assignment, which resumed on Saturday night when he homered in his first at-bat in Lake Elsinore, won't be enough to get him in top form for his Thursday night return, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
"Personally, I think it will take a week or so to get his feet on the ground," Torre said. "And part of that will be the circus. I know he's blocked out that stuff in the past, but he's never had anything like this. This will be different -- a different scenario."
Ramirez, suspended 50 games for violating the MLB drug policy, is expected to return July 3 in San Diego. After four games against the Padres, the Dodgers play a three-game series in New York against the Mets.
"The fact we go to New York, I'm sure it will magnify it," said Torre. "I'm sort of happy we're going there the first week, to get it out of the way."
The implication being that Torre isn't expecting to see Manny being Manny right out of the chute.
Torre was asked if he had any concerns that fan taunting could result in Ramirez losing his temper, as reportedly happened Thursday night with Phillies reliever J.C. Romero, who just returned from a similar 50-game suspension.
"I don't know Romero, but Manny doesn't seem to have that personality," Torre said. "It would surprise me if that was the case. I think he's heard everything he could possibly hear playing for Boston in New York. He's endured that a couple of years."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.