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08/02/08 2:42 AM ET
Manny 'a little nervous' for LA debut
Slugger finishes 2-for-4 after nearly dramatic at-bat in ninth
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Manny Ramirez stepped to the plate with the tying run at first and no outs in the bottom of the ninth Friday night, exactly the scenario the Dodgers acquired the slugger for and the reason many in the sellout crowd of 55,239 ventured out to Dodger Stadium to see his debut. Ramirez took two mighty hacks and missed while working a six-pitch at-bat that the crowd responded to by raising its decibel level with each pitch, expecting a script that could be written only in Hollywood. "It looked like it was all set up for something spectacular," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. But alas that script was not meant to be, as Ramirez smashed a ground ball to Stephen Drew that the D-backs shortstop turned into a double play that sent many in the crowd scurrying for the exit, even with one out to go in the eventual 2-1 Los Angeles loss. "He made a good pitch, and that was it," Ramirez said. "I was expecting nothing. I was just trying to see the ball." Although he was not the hero, Ramirez still put in a quality day of work, going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. "I feel great. I was a little nervous," Ramirez said. "It felt good to get that first hit out of the way." He even took part in a typical "Manny being Manny" play in the field, when neither Ramirez nor center fielder Andruw Jones cut off a ground ball to the outfield that Chris Burke legged out for a triple. The Dodgers announced they sold 12,000 tickets for Friday's game in the last 24 hours after the Ramirez trade was completed and 30,000 tickets total including other games, a new single-day high for Dodgers ticket sales. The crowd backed Ramirez every time he made a play in the field or stepped up to the plate. "The crowd was unbelievable," Ramirez said. "I'm happy to be here."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.