Blink and you might miss video of Manny Ramirez's first at-bat Sunday for the Round Rock Express, a Class AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. He's the first guy up and he singled to right field on the first pitch against Omaha's Yordano Ventura in his first appearance since coming back from Taiwan.
Ramirez hit well for the EDA Rhinos, but the quality of baseball over there is something like Class A. If he's truly ready for a final return to the majors at age 41, we'll get a better idea based on how well he does against this competition. Ramirez was pleased with his first game, telling MiLB.com:
"Not bad for not playing in two weeks or facing a pitcher," Ramirez told MLB.com after singling to right field on the first pitch he saw from Royals' No. 3 prospectYordano Ventura.
"I've got to make some adjustments. Haven't faced a guy in two weeks and [Ventura's] throwing 100."
Ramirez batted fourth and finished 1-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout and a groundout in the Express' 4-0 win over the Storm Chasers.
ESPN Dallas also had an account of Ramirez's game, with some relevant comments from the Round Rock coaching staff.
Regardless, Manny's back on North American soil! Not to puncture a balloon on a Happy Manny day, but he was hitting singles with a vengeance in his final moments with the Chicago White Sox in 2010. That was three years and a failed drug test ago. He is a long shot to help the Rangers. I hope he makes it back — but his time with the Express might be the end of the line.