ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- This time around, Dodgers star Manny Ramirez got to run the bases and trot after the ball in the field during the second day of his Minor League assignment following a 50-game suspension for a violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy. But he still hasn't gotten a hit, going 0-for-1 with a walk in Triple-A Albuquerque's 8-3, 15-inning loss to Nashville. Greeted once more by cheers from the capacity crowd, he again batted leadoff Wednesday for the Isotopes. Nashville starter Tim Dillard was nowhere near the plate, however, as Ramirez walked on four pitches to the loud displeasure of the fans. Despite a steady rain, he smoothly trotted to second on Chin-Lung Hu's sacrifice bunt but advanced no farther.
Dillard came after Ramirez on his second at-bat, in the third inning. Ramirez took two called strikes sandwiched around a ball before hitting a routine bouncer to short. Ramirez was scheduled to go five innings. But since he was set to bat sixth in the fifth inning, coupled with a slick outfield, Ramirez came out of the game after the fourth was completed, said Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers' vice president of communications. It's all about getting prepared to play, Ramirez said before Wednesday's game. "I'm getting ready to play the game physically and mentally," he told The Associated Press. "The first thing is getting my legs ready to play." After not getting a chance to touch the ball in his four innings in the field Tuesday, Ramirez was tested right away Wednesday, easily drifting back about 10 feet to catch a lazy fly from Nashville's Jason Bourgeois to start the game. He also had little trouble turning and chasing a line-drive double off the wall that Adam Heether hit in the second inning. Ramirez, who is eligible to return to Los Angeles on July 3 at San Diego -- barring rainouts -- will play for the Isotopes again Thursday and is scheduled to go seven innings. Then he's set to suit up for Class A Inland Empire at Lake Elsinore on Saturday, playing as many as four games for the 66ers. And with the Dodgers continuing their hot play without him, Ramirez said he's not worried about his contributions at the Major League level. "They're playing great," he said. "I don't have to worry about 'Oh, I've got to do this or I've got to that.'"
Glen Rosales is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.