Manny works out, will return Friday

Manny works out, will return Friday

LOS ANGELES -- Now that suspended Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez's Minor League assignment is over, attention has quickly shifted toward his imminent return to the Dodgers' lineup.

Ramirez is scheduled to return to the team Friday when the Dodgers begin a three-game series at the San Diego Padres.

And while Ramirez's main focus this weekend will be reacquainting himself with big league pitching, manager Joe Torre said that his challenge will be to assess his slugger's physical condition.

"Keeping an eye on him and try to get a feel for his game-shape," Torre said of his duties. "Mainly just to make sure that he gets his legs under him."

Ramirez, suspended for 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy, played five games in the Minors (two for Triple-A Albuquerque; three for the Class A Inland Empire 66ers) and worked out Tuesday morning at Dodger Stadium.

Torre told reporters that he did not see Ramirez while he was at the stadium.

Torre said that he expects Ramirez to bat in either the No. 3 or No. 4 position in the lineup once he gets back and that Ramirez will play every day.

Friday won't be the first time that a Ramirez return to the Dodgers merited national media attention. When Ramirez joined the Dodgers during Spring Training after lengthy contract negotiations as a free agent, it was also a huge story.

But Torre doesn't see many similarities between the two circumstances.

"We're playing for the marbles now," Torre said. "Right now, it's something that he's never experienced before, basically restarting the season for himself in July. I know the players are looking forward to having him back."

David Ely is an associate reporter with MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.