Manny his grand slam off bench
LOS ANGELES -- He was supposed to sit, but Manny Ramirez stood out in a big way on Wednesday night.
Ramirez wasn't in the Los Angeles Dodgers starting lineup against the Cincinnati Reds because of a sore left hand, but he pinch hit in a tie game and blasted a bases-loaded grand slam on the only pitch he saw on the evening.
Ramirez was supposed to sit out the sold-out game when the Dodgers gave away his bobblehead doll for precautionary reasons after being hit with a pitch on the side of his left hand in a game the night before.
"It was real sore," Ramirez said. "I was worried, but thank God the X-ray came up negative."
With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth and the bases loaded, however, Dodgers manager Joe Torre called on Ramirez. Fans chanted "Manny! Manny!" as they saw him in the Dodgers dugout putting on his batting helmet.
Ramirez then lined reliever Nick Masset's fastball into the "Mannywood" section of the left field seats for the 21st grand slam of his career. He trails only Lou Gehrig's 23 on the all-time list.
Before the game, Ramirez was in a good mood despite being scratched. His name originally was posted in the lineup, but that was before Torre said he had a chance to consult with the team trainer.
"Change the lineup, Joe!" Ramirez yelled upon seeing the mistake.
He snagged a bobblehead of himself from the trainer's room and proudly held it up in the clubhouse for inspection.
"It's great," he said, pointing how his trademark dreadlocks were accurately replicated down to a strand of red cloth that dangles from the back. His blue batting helmet had pine tar on it, too.
"It's not my first bobblehead," he said, laughing and joking that he would put the doll on top of his car.
Ramirez toted the giveaway around to show some of his teammates. His only complaint? That the lining of the doll's left back pocket wasn't turned inside out like Ramirez wears it.
"He's going to be in left field with Juan P.," Ramirez said, referring to Juan Pierre, his replacement. "We're going to let the batboy throw to him."
Even Torre approved upon being shown a doll.
"They do a good job of making them look as realistic as possible," he said.
The Dodgers are off Thursday, so Ramirez will get another day of rest before Florida arrives for a three-game series starting Friday, when Torre said he expects the slugger to start.
"It's just a bruise," said Torre.
Torre held no malice toward Cincinnati pitcher Homer Bailey, who hit Ramirez in the third inning of the Dodgers' 12-3 victory.
"I don't see anything suspicious about this other than trying to keep him from beating you," he said. "A lot of stuff is unavoidable. They're keeping him honest."
Ramirez had a two-run triple in the first and made a nifty running catch to end the second on Tuesday.
"You think my bobblehead could make that play I made yesterday?" he asked, then laughed loudly.
Ramirez's left hand was heavily wrapped, although he undid it to play catch during batting practice. As he walked on the field, a fan yelled, "Manny!" and the slugger responded by throwing a souvenir ball into the stands.
Ramirez still plans to participate in a team bowling event Thursday, saying that he'll play right-handed. He demonstrated his form in the clubhouse.
"It shouldn't affect his bowling," Torre said, smiling.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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