Manny's trip to Minors going as planned

Manny's trip to Minors going as planned

CHICAGO -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre said suspended outfielder Manny Ramirez's Minor League assignment is going as planned, meaning he's expected to take Friday off after playing Thursday night.

"I talked to Manny Mota [Dodgers coach who is accompanying Ramirez] and he said his body language was better last night than the first night," Torre said. "He was going to play longer [than four innings Wednesday night], but the field was wet [from earlier rain]. Today, the plan is to extend and play the outfield."

Torre said he's aware of a debate within and outside the game whether a player suspended for violating the Major League Baseball drug policy, as Ramirez has, should be allowed to play in a Minor League assignment while on suspension, as was negotiated by the owners and players as part of the terms of the drug policy.

"If not, then you're making it a 60-game suspension," said Torre. "That's a disservice to the team. And if he doesn't play in games before he comes back, he's going to get hurt."

Speaking of hurt, Torre said the MRI on Will Ohman's left elbow is scheduled for Thursday, as is the first rehab start at Class A Inland Empire for left-hander Eric Stults, who hurt his thumb May 15 and has been disabled since May 31 after pitching with the injury in two starts.

"My guess is he'll need a few outings," Torre said.

Before the Dodgers face a decision on Stults, they will need to make a move on Claudio Vargas. He's pitched well enough in a Minor League assignment to indicate he's recovered from a serious elbow injury and that assignment must end next week, with Torre saying the club faces a "major decision."

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