Manny might be Manny in S.B.; Mavericks clinch playoff spot

Most Dodger fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of Manny Ramirez from a 50-game suspension on July 3.

Inland Empire Dodger fans, however, have been not-so-secretly hoping that Ramirez might be coming to the Inland Empire 66ers for a rehablitation assignment before rejoining the Dodgers.

On Wednesday, Dodgers manager Joe Torre made comments suggesting Manny could be headed to the Sixers.

Here’s an excerpt of what our reporter, Doug Padilla wrote Wednesday night: “Calling it only a preliminary plan, manager Joe Torre said Wednesday that he thinks Manny Ramirez will play next week for the Inland Empire 66ers.
“I talked to Manny (Wednesday),” Torre said. “He’s still bothered by this sore throat stuff. We talked about probably next week, some time early next week that he’ll probably play some games in, I think, San Bernardino.”
“That’s what we’re thinking about just for the convenience of the whole thing,” Torre said. “That’s still conversational right now. Nothing has been scheduled. We have to get him back on the field first. Hopefully he can do a light workout (today).”

So, he could start his rehab with the Sixers when they open the second half with a three-game series at Lake Elsinore on June 25. They’ll be home for three games against the Quakes June 28-30. It seems unlikely Ramirez would make a trip with the Sixers to Visalia July 1-3.

Should Manny play for the Sixers, it could be the biggest rehab assignment ever to play for a San Bernardino club. Eric Karros, Tim Wallach and Orel Hershiser are some of the players to suit up for San Bernardino clubs on rehab assignments, but they don’t have Manny’s Hall-of-Fame numbers.

Manny’s possible arrrival overshadowed another story in the league Wednesday: the first half South Division title that was clinched by the Mavericks. The Mavericks’ 4-3 win clinched the title, and the franchise’s first trip to the playoffs since 2006. It is also their first half-season title since winning the second half in 2005 and their first first-half title since 1993, a year they won the league crown. By winning the first half, the Mavericks will receive a first-round bye in the playoffs, then play the winner of the first-round series between the second-half winner and the wild-card team.