MLB reinforces rule on Manny
Dodgers slugger not allowed in clubhouse once media enter
LOS ANGELES -- Manny Ramirez won't make any further clubhouse media briefings per Major League Baseball rules for suspended players, but manager Joe Torre said the outfielder will be welcome to visit until he begins a Minor League rehab assignment in less than two weeks.
"We want to see him. We like to have him here on a regular basis," Torre said after Ramirez's Tuesday clubhouse appearance drew a reminder to the club from MLB that suspended players cannot be in the clubhouse once the media enters 3 1/2 hours before first pitch.
Torre said he plans to meet with Ramirez next week when the club returns from a brief trip to Texas to plan his Minor League stint.
"Ideally, we'd want to do something so he's in the same place for a while [meaning a homestand], instead of a carnival atmosphere everywhere he goes, but I don't know if the schedule allows you to do that. Speaking of carnivals, we'll be going to New York right after that, and you know what that's going to be like.
"But when you're a public person who attracts a lot of attention, you just don't want him to go through it where it's new everywhere you go."
Ramirez, suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy, was in the clubhouse Tuesday when reporters arrived and spoke for the first time publicly about his suspension.
Ramirez said he had apologized to club management, teammates and the fans but would not elaborate on the events leading to the suspension and indicated he had no plans to discuss it further.
Barring rainouts, Ramirez is due back in the lineup July 3 in San Diego. He's also allowed, and is expected, to participate in as many as 10 Minor League games preceding his return.
Torre said he'd be "more inclined" to send Ramirez to Triple-A Albuquerque.
"Ideally, in Triple-A, the pitchers are better down there getting the ball over the plate," he said. "With pitchers, the level doesn't matter, he's just throwing to the catcher. With hitters, you want the pitcher throwing more strikes."
It doesn't look like any of the Dodgers' top three affiliates have a schedule ideally suited for Ramirez to stay in one place for a 10-game stretch.
Albuquerque is home June 23-26, in Omaha June 27-30 and back home July 1. Double-A Chattanooga is on the road June 22-27, then home June 28-July 3. Class A Inland Empire is off June 22-23, on the road at Lake Elsinore June 25-27, home from June 28-30, then back on the road to Visalia July 1-3.
As for other Minor League rehabs, injured pitchers Eric Milton, Eric Stults and Will Ohman will report to the club's Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex in Arizona on Thursday when the rest of the club flies to Texas for a three-game series with the Rangers.
Milton, out with a back strain, threw a bullpen session Wednesday. Stults, out with a sprained thumb, has begun playing catch. Ohman, who received an injection in his A/C joint at the top of the shoulder, will throw a bullpen session in Arizona.
The Dodgers will next need a fifth starter June 20. Milton is eligible to return June 21.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.