Mannywood’s star attraction was back in residence Thursday night, with slugger Manny Ramirez playing at Dodger Stadium for the first time since his 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug rules ended.
After Dodgers fans welcomed Ramirez back with cheers and chants of his name before the game, he went 1 for 4 at the plate in his second home debut of the season, striking out twice before reaching base on an eighth-inning single.
Manager Joe Torre figured the fans would be in Ramirez’s corner because they attend games to enjoy themselves and forget about their problems.
“I don’t think any of us have lobbied for let’s give him a rousing ovation,” he said. “I’m sensing they’re going to embrace him again. What he did was wrong, certainly it’s something you don’t condone.”
Howard hits No. 200
Ryan Howard hit his 200th homer, reaching the milestone in fewer games than any player in major league history.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ slugger achieved the feat in his 658th game, hitting his 23rd homer of the season in the sixth inning against Florida.
Ralph Kiner was previously the fastest player to reach 200 home runs. He did it in 706 games.
Injuries slowing Mets
The New York Mets still don’t know when Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado might return, leaving the depleted team looking for runs as the second half gets started.
“Much as you hate to point to the injuries, they are very significant,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said before Thursday night’s game at Atlanta.
Clearing the bases
The Chicago Cubs signed former Toronto closer B.J. Ryan to a minor league deal, hoping to add another left-hander to their bullpen. …The Milwaukee Brewers probably aren’t going to get starter Dave Bush back next week as hoped. The Brewers decided to send the right-hander for another medical exam a day after he had a poor showing in a minor league rehab start.