Quiet night for Manny with Inland Empire
Slugger goes 0-for-2, makes one putout in outfield
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- While suspended Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez provided plenty of fireworks during his first game as an Inland Empire 66er, the sizzle in his bat was absent on Sunday.
Against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at the Sixers' home park of Arrowhead Credit Union Stadium, Ramirez struck out twice and walked once to go 0-for-2 in three at-bats.
Ramirez left the game in the middle of the sixth inning.
"I really didn't talk to him after he came in that sixth inning," manager Carlos Subero said after the game. "He had that at-bat [in the fourth inning] and he had said, 'I'm good today. I did what I wanted -- I saw some pitches.'"
After spending Saturday night as the designated hitter, Ramirez played left field on Sunday.
Ramirez had one ball hit to him, a line drive in the top of the fourth. He battled the sun and caught the ball for his lone putout.
In the batter's box, Ramirez also had an uneventful day. He walked to lead off the first inning, then struck out in the third and fourth against Quakes starter Alexander Torres.
It seemed as though Ramirez almost was more concerned with just tracking pitches as they came from Torres.
"He's getting his timing ready," Subero said.
Torres, a participant in this year's California/Carolina League All-Star Game, got Ramirez out each time with a hard-breaking curveball.
Torres said that in the first at-bat he was a bit tentative, but in the second two he went after Ramirez.
"I watched him every time in the highlights. ... In the big league games, I watched him," said Torres, a 2005 free agent signing from Venezuela. "He likes to take a lot of pitches. He doesn't swing at bad pitches -- I saw that in the first at-bat."
For a second consecutive day, Ramirez brushed off reporters after batting practice. While on Saturday Ramirez offered a short, "No, gracias," to interview requests, he was silent on Sunday.
Ramirez walked down the dugout steps flanked by a Dodgers security guard to his right and said nothing before disappearing into the Sixers' clubhouse.
The only audible phrase from Ramirez for the day came when he told a relative, Rico Perdomo, in Spanish that it was too hot outside after he shagged balls in the 104-degree heat.
Though there weren't many memorable moments from Ramirez in the field, that didn't detract from the carnival-like atmosphere amid the sold-out crowd of 6,424.
Fans wore Dodgers caps and jerseys, and the Sixers' mascot, Bernie, donned Ramirez's signature dreadlock wig, complete with a Dodgers-blue do-rag.
After Ramirez entered the stadium via the left-field gate, he was serenaded with cheers. Ramirez gave a small wave to the fans before entering the dugout.
Adding to the hysterical element of the evening was Ramirez's departure after 6 1/2 innings.
Ramirez exited the stadium via the entrance on the first-base side. He had team of police officers and stadium security helping him leave the park, and his white GMC truck had a single-car police escort.
And so goes life in the Minors for Ramirez.
One more game down, possibly two to go in the Ramirez circus that has swept the Minor Leagues since last week.
Ramirez, suspended 50 games for violating the Major League Baseball's drug policy, has now appeared in four games in the Minors. Ramirez is expected to return to the Dodgers on Friday, when the club begins a three-game series against the Padres in San Diego.
Subero said before the game that Ramirez will serve as the DH on Monday for the Sixers, and he added that Ramirez is still scheduled to play Tuesday's game, despite the fact that first pitch is set for 11 a.m. PT.
Subero said the decision of whether to play Ramirez on Tuesday or not depended on how he felt after waking up in the morning.
David Ely is an associate reporter with MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.