Manny 'excited' for Dodger Stadium return
Ramirez praises reaction of Los Angeles fans, teammates
LOS ANGELES -- Joe Torre was doing his customary pregame talk with reporters in the Dodgers' dugout before Thursday's game but suddenly Manny Ramirez squeezed through the crowd and took a seat next to his manager.
Torre just laughed and said, "Here goes all the attention I had."
Torre was correct as Ramirez stole the spotlight before his first game at Dodger Stadium after serving his 50-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Ramirez told the reporters that he was back for "Part Two" and that "you always leave the best part for last."
Ramirez was noticeably excited for his first start at Dodger Stadium and asked his manager how many innings he would play, but Torre told Ramirez, "You usually tell me that."
The jovial left fielder was his usual self, cracking jokes, but he also gave plenty of praise to the Dodgers fans that have supported him.
"I'm excited, man," Ramirez said. "These are the greatest fans in the world and they're behind me, so I'm excited."
Ramirez also took time to thank his teammates for embracing him upon his return to the club July 3 in San Diego.
"It's been great," Ramirez said. "They're the best teammates I've ever had. They've backed me up all year long."
Ramirez has certainly shown no signs of rust at the plate since his return, as he is batting .379 with three home runs and nine RBIs in nine games.
"It seems like his timing has really got back there, especially since the end of the Mets series through the Milwaukee series," Torre said. "But again, he had three days off, so it'll be an adjustment for everybody."
Ramirez, however, has not been surprised with his fast start despite sitting out for 50 games.
"I've showed you what I can do, so I still have it," Ramirez said. "I never doubted it. My bat is still young."
Ramirez also made it clear what his goal is for the Dodgers, who entered the All-Star break with the best record in baseball.
"We have some things we have to do," Ramirez said. "It doesn't matter how many games we've won, the main goal is that we win the World Series."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.