Manny Ramirez a.k.a. "Mannywood" returns to the Dodgers

He's back!

Yes of course I'm speaking of Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez, who returned to the Dodgers Friday night. Ramirez, who just completed his 50-game suspension for testing positive for PED, was 0-3 on the night with one walk.

"It was great," Ramirez said. "I was kind of nervous at first, but once I stepped to the plate I was fine."

Ramirez unlike many of his counterparts received a relatively warm welcome, considering the circumstances. The stadium was filled with so many Dodger fans that were cheering very loud, attempting to overwhelm the Padres fans that were booing. After the game Ramirez seemed appreciative of the fans.

The fan reaction "was great, man. It was the best. I want to thank all my fans; I think they drove from L.A. just to watch the game and to watch me. It was unbelievable."

Those who came for the show though were somewhat letdown, Ramirez didn't even get the ball out of the infield. His deepest ball was a pop out to Padres second baseman David Eckstein, which was caught in shallow center field.

Although Ramirez didn't do much at the plate the result remained the same for the Dodgers. They defeated the Padres 6-3 and continued their winning ways.

The Dodgers, who didn't skip a beat in Ramirez absence, maintained their lead on the NL West at 7 ½ games.

Ramirez is expected to be in the lineup Saturday when the Dodgers face the Padres. Josh Geer is expected to be on the mound for the Padres.

This is going to be a huge lift for the Dodgers going into the second half of the season. It's almost the equivalent of making a big deadline deal. Ramirez has now had the luxury of resting for about a month and half, which should make him real dangerous down the stretch. The Dodgers were already considered by many to be the best team in the NL, and Manny's presence makes it that much tougher to refute.

Don't discount the presence of Juan Pierre either. Manny's absense allowed the Dodgers to discover that they had a real weapon in Pierre. I expect Joe Torre to get creative in finding ways to get Pierre in the lineup in the future. Some rumors have been kicked around about the Dodgers entertaining offers for Pierre, but as of now that seems like hearsay. I expect Pierre to stay with the Dodgers, and command significant playing time. Remember, following his 12 years as manager of the Yankees Torre has plenty of experience in balancing a deep roster.

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