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If Manny Ramirez is planning on coming back to the Dodgers, now would be an excellent time

August 21, 2010 |  7:03 am
The Dodgers managed one run and another whopping five hits Friday. Against a pitcher making his second start in almost three months. A regular offensive juggernaut, they are not.

This is a team in serious need of offensive lift. Umm, let’s see, where could they possibly find a good right-handed hitter?

Turns out they have one in San Bernardino. Anyway, they think he is. Anyway, he used to be.

Manny Ramirez, do you have anything left?

If so, time to get it in gear. Time to rejoin the team.

If Manny is healthy enough to play three rehab games, it would seem he’s healthy enough to play in the games that really matter.

Manny has not been exactly ripping it up at class-A -- 1-for-6 with four strikeouts -- but with the way the Dodgers are hitting, and the calendar is flying by, there should be a sense of urgency to return him to the lineup.

"I don’t know, we’ll see when he gets here and we talk,’’ said manager Joe Torre. "He is definitely a threat. I’m not saying he is not going to play [Saturday], but I’d rather talk to him first."

Before the game, Torre said it was possible Manny could return Saturday. Manny has had exactly three at-bats since June 29. This is his third stint on the disabled list with right leg problems this season.

Since his latest DL trip, the Dodgers have traded for outfielder Scott Podsednik, called up outfielder Jay Gibbons and subtracted Garret Anderson. Things will get a tad crowded with his return.

With Rafael Furcal also on the disabled list, it might be tempting for Torre to find a way to keep Podsednik in the lineup so he at least has a legitimate lead-off hitter.

"Yeah, but if he’s in the lineup that means Matt [Kemp] is not playing … and he has too much there we need to have come out," Torre said. "Scott will probably play some center field. Manny probably won’t play every day, at least at the start.

"But we’ll have to do the best we can, maybe have to do a Jamey Carroll up top."

Carroll, who is starting at short for Furcal, at least has a good on-base percentage (.384).

"As far as who plays, I mean, you’d like Matt to produce," Torre said. "Podsednik, I like the energy he gives us. He could play center field, match up here and there.

"But until I get Manny back, I haven’t made a plan. I have a sense the plan is going to be based on a lot of match-up stuff."

Which first requires getting Manny back. And it’s getting to be now-or-never time on his return.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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