Ramirez keys L.A. in Taiwan exhibition
KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- For the last three days Taiwan has swarmed Manny Ramirez. Sunday afternoon Ramirez swarmed Taiwanese baseball.
The Los Angeles Dodgers' slugger went 3 for 4 with a double and three runs scored as fans cheered his every move as the Dodgers defeated the Taiwanese Chinese Professional Baseball League All-Stars 11-1 on a steamy Sunday afternoon.
"Right now obviously this is practice,'' Ramirez said. "I'm not quite in form yet. I still have to get into shape but this was a good experience because the league here is good and the competition is good as well.''
Taiwanese native Chin-lung Hu had three hits, including a double. Hu played shortstop and second base and recorded the game's final out as the sold-out stadium crowd roared.
Fans cheered wildly throughout the game, clapping their Thunderstix as a drummer pounded constantly.
"I was tapping my foot by the end of the game,'' Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of the Taiwanese style of cheering. "The fans really made the trip for me, not only at the ballpark but in and around Taipei and Kaohsuing.
"Just to come this far and to realize how small our world is in regard to baseball is wonderful. Baseball has been my life and this was a great experience for me.''
James Loney had two hits for the Dodgers, including a first-inning RBI triple. Minor-leaguer Trayvon Robinson blasted a towering two-run homer in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Fifth-starter candidate Josh Towers allowed one run in three innings of work, allowing four hits and striking out two.
Towers, whose start was rained out Saturday, got the call in place of the injured Hong-Chih Kuo, who missed the opportunity to pitch against his countrymen because of a sore elbow.
Josh Lindblom relieved Towers and threw three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and a walk while striking out three. Jon Link got in out out of trouble in pitching a scoreless ninth.
After the game, Ramirez thanked Taiwanese fans for their enthusiastic reception of him.
"I want to express my thanks to all the people in Taiwan who received me so warmly," he said. "The Taiwanese league is a strong league with good pitching."
Four players were sent down after the game in the Dodgers' first cuts of the spring. Non-roster players Brian Barton, Francisco Felix and Gabriel Gutierrez were reassigned to minor league camp. Pitcher Kenley Jansen was optioned from the major league roster.Ramona Shelburne is a writer and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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