05/15/09 6:35 PM ET
Manny has short meeting with team
Dodgers see suspended slugger at team hotel in Miami
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"It was uncomfortable, I'll give you that," said manager Joe Torre. "He was a little anxious, you could sense an uneasiness I hadn't seen. He was remorseful, no question, and embarrassed. He went around, shook hands. The guys were happy to see him. It was more for him to show his face. He's embarrassed. He wanted to team to know how sorry he is."
The first meeting between Ramirez and the club since he was suspended on May 7 for 50 games for violating the MLB drug policy lasted less than 10 minutes. The meeting followed a stern suggestion from club chairman Frank McCourt that Ramirez needed to face his club as part of the healing process.
Even players not staying at the club hotel -- several, like Ramirez, have homes in the area -- showed up for the meeting.
"It was something we had to do," said Torre, who called the meeting "conversational."
Torre said Ramirez was uneasy.
"He walked in the room, you could sense Manny was the center of attention and it gave him a sense of uneasiness and it made them uneasy. I don't think there was any anger. Everybody is in pretty good spirits once the silence was broken. My advice to him -- it is what it is. Get ready to come back. Don't hide from it."
Asked if Ramirez had let down him or his team, Torre said:
"In his mind he has. A lot of questions are asked. Maybe not from my perspective. I have a relationship. We're not as good a team without him, or not as powerful a team, put it that way. But it's like being on the DL. You don't have him. You continue to do what you do. He feels he let them down. It's like children, they do something wrong, you continue to love them. I'm here for support, not to pass judgment. I have to take care of the club, and he's part of the club. We're going to welcome him back. We're not going to disconnect from him."
Torre said he expects Ramirez to begin working out next week, either at Dodger Stadium or the club's Arizona training facility, possibly in a combination of the two depending on whether the club is home or away. Torre also said he expected Ramirez to address the media, "at whatever time he feels is appropriate." Torre suggested that would be better sooner than later.
Teammate Andre Ethier said Ramirez was "sorry" and "remorseful." Player representative Russell Martin said the meeting ended with Ramirez hugging many of his teammates. Casey Blake said Ramirez was apologetic.
"Yeah, sure -- but nobody needed it or expected it," said Blake. "I don't think anybody was looking for an apology. I think it was heartfelt. I don't think anyone was worried about it or it was on anybody's mind. You can tell he's genuinely concerned about his team and his teammates. I'm sure he feels bad. We didn't expect him to say anything, to apologize. Everyone knows how he's feeling. It's nice to see him again.
"He's a great guy. He's a man. You've got to be a man to play this game. He made a mistake and stood up to it. He was himself. We didn't really say anything. Just shook his hand, said, 'What's up.' It was brief, five or 10 minutes. He knows he made a mistake. I know I forgive him."
If there are teammates upset with Ramirez, it hasn't become apparent.
"I don't think anybody here is angry with him," said veteran pitcher Randy Wolf. "Obviously, we want him back, but we have to wait a little bit. The reason there is not anger is everybody likes Manny. He's still a teammate. He'll be back in July and we'll be trying to win a championship with him here. Nobody wants to be divisive and make it tense in the clubhouse.
"The reality is, he's suspended 50 games. We have to move on and play without him and play well until he comes back, when he'll be a good mid-season acquisition. He just let us know what's up. He kind of told us."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.