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Andy Behrens

Manny's back (sort of); Pierre to the bench (or to Seattle?)

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It seems fairly ridiculous that suspended players -- who have only limited access to major league clubhouses -- are somehow allowed full access to minor league at-bats. But those are the rules.

Thus, Manny Ramirez(notes) is a member of the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. His 50-game suspension for using a banned male enhancer gender reassignment drug fertility treatment will end July 3, barring any rainouts or postponements.

On Tuesday, Ramirez faced Manny Parra(notes) (currently pitching in exile in Nashville), going 0-for-2. He struck out swinging in the first inning and hit a soft chopper to short in the third. He saw only eight pitches. The tentative plan is for Ramirez to play three games with Albuquerque, then visit Single-A Inland Empire for as many as four. Nothing is etched in stone, though. This via the Dodgers' Web site:

"It's pretty much left to him -- it's a comfort thing," [Joe] Torre said.

... Torre said Ramirez will need to play some games in the outfield and could take "a couple days off during the time."

When Ramirez is reinstated, Juan Pierre(notes) and his 17 steals will return to the bench:

Torre also said his goal is to get Pierre one or two starts a week in center field, with Kemp moving to right. But Torre dismissed the suggestion that Pierre might displace Ethier as a starting outfielder.

"Matt's our center fielder. Ethier, with what he brings to the table. Manny, because of his ability, he'll play," said Torre. "Ethier is still a threat."

Pierre's fantasy value will obviously collapse unless the Dodgers find a buyer -- and the pricetag is crazy ($10 million in 2010, $8.5M in '11). The White Sox have reportedly been interested in Pierre for years, and the Seattle Times addressed the possibility of a Jarrod Washburn-for-Pierre deal on Monday.

However, Yahoo!'s Tim Brown discussed -- and essentially dismissed -- the Pierre trade talk last week. (Video). Pierre is a useful piece for a Series contender like L.A., and the Dodgers can't be too interested in paying him to play elsewhere. The Beast Mode experience has been better than anyone could have reasonably expected, but May's MVP (23 R, 18 RBI, 9 SB, .369) is looking like July's drop.

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