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Manny expected in Minors games next week

Manny expected in Minors games next week

LOS ANGELES -- Manny Ramirez is expected to resume game action in the Minor Leagues next week in preparation for his return from a 50-game suspension, but a Dodgers spokesman said Friday that the club wouldn't confirm reports that it would start Tuesday night in Albuquerque.

Ramirez is eligible to return from his suspension for violating MLB's drug policy on July 3 and he is permitted to play up to 10 Minor League games prior to that. Tuesday would be the first day in that window.

Manager Joe Torre, who on Thursday said nothing had been defined as to where Ramirez would play next week, said he expected the outfielder to need "six or seven" games to be ready for Major League action. He also had said the previous day that the Dodgers' Single-A affiliate in San Bernardino would be the likely location because of its convenience.

But San Bernardino is dark Monday through Wednesday because of the California League All-Star break, making Albuquerque the next most convenient location for Ramirez. One scenario under consideration is for Ramirez to play Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Albuquerque, take Friday off, then join Inland Empire for games Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

But as with all things Ramirez, it could change, as other schedules are being discussed.

Torre said he expected Ramirez to be in the lineup July 3, when the Dodgers play at San Diego. Ramirez resumed morning workouts at Dodger Stadium Thursday after missing several days with the flu.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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