Ramirez back in left field for Dodgers

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PHOENIX (AP)—Manny Ramirez was back in left field for the Dodgers, and quickly tested his sore left hamstring.

Ramirez said he felt good running toward the left-field line to cut off a drive by Bill Hall in the second inning of Los Angeles’ 12-9 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.

“When I cut off that ball down the line, I thought I was going to mess it up again, but it feels pretty good,” said Ramirez, who had an ice wrap on the hamstring afterward. “I was just going to run hard and see.”

Ramirez had been kept from playing in the field since he aggravated his sore left hamstring chasing down a double against the Colorado Rockies on March 15, his only other game in left this spring. He missed six games before returning for two as the designated hitter.

“Every time you hurt your hamstring, you always have that in the back of your mind. But I want to test it,” Ramirez said. “Maybe I’m 50 percent, but who cares? It’s a long season.”

Ramirez singled, walked and was called out on strikes while playing 3 1/2 innings. He was not expected to play when the Dodgers travel to Tucson on Thursday but said he will be back in the lineup Friday.

Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun, recently returned from the World Baseball Classic, was removed for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning with what the Brewers called right side stiffness.

Corey Hart hit his sixth home run of the spring, and Prince Fielder hit his fourth for the Brewers. Mike Cameron, J.J. Hardy and Casey McGehee also homered for the Brewers, who have 33 homers.

“The offense has been really good,” Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. “Prince’s was something.”

Fielder and McGehee hit two-run homers in a four-run fourth inning, when Milwaukee took a 9-5 lead.

McGehee’s homer was his fifth, and he also had a two-run double in the fifth, when the Brewers stretched their lead to 11-6. He is in competition with Mike Lamb for the final infield spot.

Andre Ethier had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs for Los Angeles. Orlando Hudson and Juan Pierre had two hits, and Russell Martin had a two-run double. Martin has a team-high 12 RBIs. ^Notes: Pierre stole his 10th base of spring training. … The Brewers released veteran outfielder Trot Nixon before the game, leaving Tony Gwynn Jr., Chris Duffy and Brad Nelson competing for the final two outfield spots. The Brewers also optioned third baseman Mat Gamel and catcher Angel Salome to the minor leagues, reassigned outfielder Jason Bourgeois and left-hander Chris Narveson to minor league camp, and announced that right-hander Wes Littleton cleared waivers and was in the minor league camp. … Right-hander Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers’ expected opening day starter, is on schedule for his normal throwing session Thursday, manager Joe Torre said. Billingsley strained his groin strain in his start Monday against the Angels. “No pain or anything, just a little tightness,” Torre said. Billingsley’s next scheduled start is Saturday. … Infielder Mark Loretta (strained groin) is expected to miss two or three more days, Torre said. … Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp returned to camp from Los Angeles, where he had an issue with his contact lenses corrected. … Delwyn Young (elbow) had an MRI that showed no structural damage, but he is expected to miss more time, Torre said.

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