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03/18/09 7:30 PM ET

Manny tries hand at cricket

Dodgers slugger takes some swings as part of promotion

Despite being held out of baseball action for at least a week because a tight left hamstring, Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez found time to bat on Wednesday, although it was in a game of cricket instead of baseball.

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Ramirez, wearing customary cricket gear that included a helmet, thick gloves and shin guards, managed to hit five of the eight balls thrown from the bowler as part of a promotion for DirecTV at Nichols Park in Gilbert, Ariz., home to the Arizona Cricket Club.

The slugger was coached by 25-year-old Australian cricketer Shaun Marsh before the event to prepare for hitting the shiny 5 1/2-ounce ball that bounces before it reaches the batter.

"I have faced some tough pitchers before, but we don't have to ever swing at a bouncing ball that is rising as it passes us," said Ramirez in a press release. "Shaun is a great hitter and he gave me some great pointers. I hadn't watched much cricket in the past, but the game is a lot like baseball. Shaun said I definitely have a future in the game."

Ramirez didn't run or play in the field because of his hamstring injury, but told the Associated Press that he hopes to play in a Spring Training game next week in order to be healthy before the Dodgers open the season on April 6.

"I'm feeing better every day," Ramirez said. "We've got three weeks to Opening Day. That's what we're shooting for."

Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.