Hamming It Up
Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez attempts to hit a ball with a cricket bat Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at the Arizona Cricket Club's pitch in Gilbert, Ariz. Ramirez tried his hand at the game as part of a promotion for DirecTV's Cricket Ticket broadcasting package
(AP)

Same Old Manny Sticks It to Dodger Fans

Manny Can't Step Up to the Plate, But He Steps Onto the DirecTV Pitch
Ramirez Takes a Swing at Cricket

Manny Ramirez's tight hamstring is keeping him out of the Dodgers lineup this week but the former Red Sox outfielder faced live pitching today... from a cricket bowler... as part of a promotion for DirecTV. Ramirez was swinging at googlies and grubbers instead of split-finger fast balls in his debut as a cricket batsman. Manny hit five of eight pitches from the bowler, including a rocket shot that dispersed a crowd standing behind the bowler.

"I have faced some tough pitchers before, but we don't have to ever swing at a bouncing ball that is rising as it passes us," said Ramirez, who was coached at the event by Australian cricketer Shaun Marsh. "Shaun is a great hitter and he gave me some great pointers. I hadn't watched much cricket in the past, but the game is a lot like baseball. Shaun said I definitely have a future in the game."

After signing a two-year, $45-million contract and reporting late to spring training, Manny developed the tightness in running drills in Arizona last week. He aggravated the sore hamstring on Sunday while running down a double playing left field for the first time this spring. The Dodgers then decided to rest Ramirez, at least through this week.

"We're just going to lay low till we get rid of this," Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Monday. "We're just going to keep him out. I can't give you a time because I don't know the time, but it's certainly going to be through the weekend and probably beyond that."

"Maybe age is catching up on me," Ramirez said after exiting the game on Sunday.

Material from DirecTV was used in this update.

Manny Ramirez jokingly raises a cricket bat prior to attempting to hit a ball,  Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at the Arizona Cricket Club's pitch in Gilbert, Ariz.
(AP)

Must See TV: Manny Is 'El Maniaco'

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