Manny Ramirez is likely to meet with his Dodgers teammates during their weekend series at Florida, according to a report. Citing a source, ESPN reported early Friday morning that Ramirez would meet with manager Joe Torre and the team on Friday as they open their three-game series against the Marlins. It has not yet been determined exactly when such a meeting would occur, the source told ESPN. Suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games on May 7 for using performance-enhancing drugs, Ramirez met with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt last Sunday, and McCourt made it clear he feels it necessary for Ramirez to speak to the team and the fans.
"If Manny takes the steps that I'm hopeful he will, I think this will be something that won't damage this franchise at all," McCourt said Sunday. "We all make mistakes, and it's how we deal with those mistakes that really differentiates one from the other. And if Manny does with others what he did with me yesterday, I think we'll be on the road to full recovery." Ramirez, who led the Dodgers to the National League Championship Series last year after being traded from Boston, was batting .348 with six homers and 20 RBIs so far this season. He was found to have used human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a women's fertility drug known to be used by male athletes to generate the body's production of testosterone after steroid use. Ramirez said it was prescribed to him by a doctor for a "personal health reason." Florida had been mentioned as a possible location for Ramirez's first meeting with the club since his suspension, since Ramirez makes his offseason home in Miami. Torre sounded hopeful Thursday that Ramirez would reunite with his teammates this weekend. "There's a chance," Torre said before Thursday's game at Philadelphia. "We haven't been given any definitive information. And when I've spoken to Manny, I've gotten the same drift. He's really beaten up over this. He's embarrassed. I think it's going to take him time to clear his head. We want to see him as a team. The players are here and they're supporting him. But right now, he's not ready for it."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.