Manny Ramirez already subjected to random drug test in minors

Posted Thursday, Jul. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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If the Texas Rangers have any lingering doubts as to whether Manny Ramirez is playing it clean in his comeback bid, they should soon know the answer thanks to a curiously timed random drug test during the slugger’s first week with Triple A Round Rock.

A source said on Thursday that all players who weren’t on the 40-man roster were subjected to a drug test. Included in the group was Ramirez, who failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs in 2009 and 2011.

General manager Jon Daniels declined to comment on the timing of the test, but said that the word from Round Rock indicates that Ramirez, 41, has been a model citizen after signing a minor-league contract last week with no guarantees of getting a promotion to the Rangers’ roster.

“The reports have all been very positive,” Daniels said. “The guys say he’s been in the cage early and often, and generally has been a good influence.”

Ramirez, who sheared his hair to comply with the Rangers’ minor-league code of conduct, was batting .250 (3-for-12) entering a game Thursday at Omaha. He homered and drove in three runs Tuesday.

But the Rangers aren’t ready to make a knee-jerk reaction based on Ramirez’s early returns.

“I don’t have high expectations, and I don’t have low expectations,” Daniels said. “It’s truly a situation where we didn’t have anything to lose by taking him. There’s a chance he makes a contribution, but we’re taking it day by day. It’ll be a few weeks before we know if he’ll be able to make a contribution.”

One place he won’t be making a contribution, said Daniels, is in the outfield. Ramirez hasn’t played there since 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and is viewed exclusively as a designated hitter.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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