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Manny Ramirez is likely to begin minor league stint next Thursday

DODGERS

The suspended outfielder, who is eligible to return July 3, would play for the Dodgers' Inland Empire club.

June 18, 2009|Kevin Baxter

Manny Ramirez is scheduled to return to the field next week for the first time since his May 7 suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. And Manager Joe Torre said Wednesday that Ramirez's first game would likely be with Inland Empire, the Dodgers' affiliate in the Class-A California League.

"That's what we're thinking about. Just for the convenience of the whole thing," Torre said.

Playing for Inland Empire would allow Ramirez to commute to games from his home in Pasadena.

Ramirez is eligible to begin playing minor league games on Tuesday, but the California League is taking three days off next week for its All-Star game. That means Ramirez would likely return during Inland Empire's three-game series in Lake Elsinore, June 25-27, then play as many as three games in San Bernardino beginning June 28.

"That's still conversational right now. There's nothing been scheduled," Torre said. "We've got to get him back on the field first."

Ramirez has been bothered by flu-like symptoms the past couple of days, which has kept him from working out. Ramirez said earlier this month he doesn't expect to need more than a handful of at-bats to get back to game speed. He's eligible to rejoin to the Dodgers on July 3 in San Diego.

Sibling rivalry

Jeff Weaver sent a text message to his mother shortly after batting practice Wednesday suggesting she begin thinking about changing her weekend plans.

Weaver said his parents were hoping to attend a family wedding in Temecula on Saturday but that was before Torre named Weaver the Dodgers starter for Saturday's game in Anaheim, where he'll be opposed by his brother, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver. That will mark the 21st time in major league history brothers started against one another.

The last time brothers opposed one another on the mound in the major leagues was nearly seven years ago, when the Chicago Cubs' Alan Benes faced Andy Benes, who was pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Weavers were scheduled to face each other two seasons ago, when Jeff was with Seattle, but a late change to the Angels' rotation keep that from happening.

"When it comes down to it, you're facing their lineup, he's facing ours," Jeff Weaver said. "We get a chance to share the same mound the same day. And not too many people can say that.

"For us it's another game, another lineup. But for my parents, I don't know if I'd want to be the people sitting around them during the course of the game. I'm sure they're going to be teetering both ways. It'll be something to talk about once it's all said and done."

Jered Weaver, 7-2 with a 2.08 earned-run average, is having an All-Star season. He is unbeaten in seven starts at home. Older brother Jeff is 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 games.

"It's going to be weird," Jered said of starting against his brother. "I won't know what it will feel like until it happens. But it will be cool."

Broxton ailing

Torre said closer Jonathan Broxton has had trouble maintaining a consistent velocity on his fastball because of a sore toe on his right foot that required a cortisone shot.

"It's sort of affecting his push-off," Torre said of Broxton, who was not available to pitch Wednesday. "Supposedly [the shot] will solve it."

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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