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Manny Ramirez expected back with Dodgers on Saturday

Outfielder is scheduled to play at Class-A Inland Empire on Thursday as a final tuneup.

May 05, 2010|By Jim Peltz

Manny Ramirez is expected back in the Dodgers dugout Saturday after he comes off the disabled list, Manager Joe Torre said Wednesday.

The slugger will play in another game with the Inland Empire 66ers, the Dodgers' Class-A affiliate, at his normal position of left field as a final tuneup Thursday, Torre said.

Ramirez played one rehabilitation game with the 66ers, against the Lake Elsinore Storm on Tuesday as a designated hitter, and went one for three with a run-scoring single. He took batting practice with the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday before their game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

"He'll play left field tomorrow" at Lake Elsinore "and we'll give him Friday off and he'll be ready for us Saturday," Torre said.

Ramirez was batting .415 when he went on the disabled list April 23 because of a strained right calf. Torre said Wednesday that "health-wise he seems to be all the way back. He feels fine, he's ready to come back."

Haeger gets nod

Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, who started the season as the Dodgers' fifth starter but then struggled and was taken out of the rotation, nonetheless is getting another start.

Haeger was tapped to start Saturday against the Colorado Rockies after he gave up only one run in four innings of relief Tuesday in the Dodgers' 11-6 loss to the Brewers.

Torre said he picked Haeger based on "the fact that he was able to throw a lot of strikes with [the knuckleball] last night and even when he wasn't throwing strikes he was close, so hopefully he can carry that over to Saturday."

Haeger (0-1) had entered the game with an 0-3 record and 7.45 earned-run average after getting roughed up April 27 in a loss to the New York Mets.

In that game, "my fastball, command-wise, was terrible," Haeger recalled. But in Tuesday's game against the Brewers, "the few times I threw it, I threw it where I wanted to. That's the key for me. When I have to throw a fastball I need to be able to throw it for a strike."

It has been a revolving door for the Dodgers' fourth and fifth starters, especially with opening-day starter Vicente Padilla on the disabled list. The team has used Haeger and rookies John Ely, who is starting Thursday's game, and Carlos Monasterios.

"The spots are out there" to fill a rotation position, Torre said. "We're not giving anybody any long-term guarantees, we're looking to see what we see, and pretty much the decisions will be made off what we see."

Ely said he would use his second big league start to "attack the [strike] zone, attack hitters and try to stay ahead" in counts.

But with reliever Jeff Weaver set to return from the disabled list Friday, the Dodgers need to clear a roster spot and Ely, who turns 24 next week, might be sent back to the minor leagues.

"He could, even though he pitches well, still could be one of the guys who won't be here," Torre said of Ely, who was called up April 28. "He knew that when he got here."

Torre also said Haeger has "more potential to give you more innings than Carlos right now."

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