DENVER -- Hours after it became public that the Chicago White Sox had secured waiver rights to him, Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez was conspicuously absent from the starting lineup that was posted in the clubhouse before Friday night's game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said the decision had nothing to do with the uncertainty of whether Ramirez is going to the White Sox via waiver claim or trade some time in the next three days. Instead, Torre told ESPNLosAngeles.com that it had more to do with the fact that the Dodgers were facing Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, the front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award.
"Manny is out of the lineup because he hasn't been back long enough and I don't think he is sharp enough to face Jimenez," Torre said.
Ramirez was activated from the 15-day disabled list just five days ago, and he has played in just three games since then, going 2-for-9 with three strikeouts. But both those hits came in the last game he played, on Wednesday night at Milwaukee, and both were doubles. Ramirez also walked twice in that game.
Torre's decision also might have had something to do with the fact that Ramirez is 1-for-13 with six strikeouts in his career against Jimenez. But the Dodgers have known for most of this week that Jimenez would pitch Friday night, and Torre said when Ramirez returned Saturday that he likely would sit out day games.
Ramirez did sit out Thursday afternoon's finale in Milwaukee, meaning Friday night marked the second game in a row in which he didn't start.
If the Dodgers and White Sox are on the verge of a trade involving Ramirez -- or if the Dodgers are on the verge of simply allowing Ramirez to go to the White Sox on a straight waiver claim, something that would save the Dodgers about $4.3 million -- it is conceivable that Ramirez would be held out of any game action to avoid risking a possible injury that would kill the deal.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.