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Welcome back Manny Ramirez! And thanks for the final notice

February 22, 2010 |  9:42 am
Manny So Manny Ramirez says upon his arrival to spring training Monday that he knows he won’t be a Dodger next season. And then gave no reasons for his thinking.

He clearly knows something, or at least believes he does. There are two distinct possibilities: The organization has already indicated to him that it’s not interested in signing him to another $20-million contract; or he’s done with the outfield and wants to return to the American League as a designated hitter.

Either way, his pronouncement won’t endear him to Dodgers fans. Particularly those who soured on him after he was banned 50 games for substance abuse.

Manny made it sound like this was some one-year stopover on the way to his next job, not like he was a key part to any future of the Dodgers beyond this season.

He’ll turn 38 in May, so his playing future is limited, but the pre-suspension Manny at least still resembled the hitter who electrified Dodger Stadium in 2008. If he returns to form this season, his entire preseason proclamation is naturally subject to change.
Manny can come off as a bit of a good-hearted goof, but I don’t believe he says a lot without intent. He still has legions of dedicated fans in Los Angeles. Don’t think it would it be beyond him to attempt to generate a groundswell among the dedicated for his return next season. And another fat contract.

Still, for a guy to claim he did a great job after coming back from the suspension -- he hit .255 with 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in in 231 second-half at-bats -- smacks of someone living on their own planet.

And there were two other curious and conflicting tidbits to come out of his first practice: He recognized his advancing years by saying he hit in the offseason for the first time, and that he weighed 237 pounds.

Last year, the Dodgers listed him at 200 pounds.

--Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Manny Ramirez is greeted by fans during a game against the Houston Astros on July 16. Credit: Gus Ruelas / Associated Press