According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, Ramirez complained late last season that playing the outfield for L.A. "wore down his legs," and as such, he gave serious thought to not exercising his $20 million option for 2010 and returning to an American League team to play designated hitter.
While this consideration may sound like just another example of Manny being … well … Manny, Ramirez and agent Scott Boras were wise enough to accurately gauge baseball's tightening economic marketplace, exercised the option and will be in la-la land at least through the end of the season.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he'll do his best to keep Manny and L.A.'s other top players better rested during the season, likely giving them more regular days off to keep them in top form down the stretch.
Torre understands that while 2009 was a tough one for Manny, he knows the 37-year-old slugger is enthusiastic and ready for the 2010 season to get under way.
"He seems anxious to get started," Torre told MLB.com. "Last year, missing 50 games [to a drug suspension], his biggest problem was having trouble recovering from coming back in cold. It's not easy to do, especially on a first-place team, taking somebody out of the lineup like Juan Pierre. He felt a lot of pressure and fought himself a lot."
Despite his long suspension, Ramirez played in 104 games for the Dodgers, hitting .290 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs, as L.A. reached the National League Championship Series for the second straight season.
Ramirez played seven and a half All-Star-caliber seasons with the Red Sox before a deadline trade sent him to the Dodgers late in 2008.
The Red Sox and Dodgers will face off in a weekend series at Fenway Park from June 18-20. It will be Manny's first on-field return to Boston since the trade.