The wait is almost over for slugger Manny Ramirez to return to Major League Baseball. And with his suspension rapidly approaching an end, Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane has been mapping out his comeback, discussing it with The Drive's Eric Davis and Brandon Tierney on 95.7 The Game to discuss Manny on Thursday, delving into Manny's upcoming minor league assignment and what he means to the rest of the hitters on the club.
Beane noted that Ramirez's minor league assignment will likely start at 'the highest level,' meaning Ramirez could join the Sacramento Rivercats as soon as May 15 for his return to Oakland on May 30.
"I think our idea, because we haven't completely decided, but it's probably going to be that he's going to play at the highest level for us.
"We want him to get the best competition he can get before we decide to activate him. That's come up quick. He's spent a lot of time down at Arizona, I'm sure he's probably getting a little stir-crazy but we are anxious to have him go out and at least play in these minor league games and see if he can pick up where he left off in spring."
Beane would mention his hopes for the arrival of Manny elevating the players like the struggling Jemile Weeks and fellow slugger Yoenis Cespedes, possibly giving the 16-16 A's that needed push to get a win streak rolling into the summer.
"I think he takes a lot of focus off Cespedes and I think him being here will have a huge impact, having that fourth hitter and that guy who's been there before, kind of takes pressure off the guys around him."
Beane and skipper Bob Melvin are looking to use Ramirez mainly in the DH role, though already have two on the team in Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes, though Gomes has been solid batting .262 in 61 at bats with five homers and a .400 OBP this season. Obviously some maneuvering will be needed Manny returns to the A's.