Manny debuts as player/coach

Former major league slugger Manny Ramirez returned to professional baseball for the first time since early last season, playing left field and batting sixth for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on Thursday.

He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while reaching on an infield error in the first inning of Iowa's 7-6 loss to Colorado Springs in Game 2 of a doubleheader. Ramirez struck out swinging in the third and fifth innings while lining out to center field in the seventh.

Ramirez signed with the Cubs in late May as a player/coach after compiling 555 home runs in a 19-year big league career. He's attempted comebacks with the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers the past two seasons before his former employer with the Boston Red Sox, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, signed him to help mentor the Cubs' young hitting prospects.

The Cubs have already stated Ramirez will not be called up to play for them and is free to be signed by another major league team. He'll play sparingly for Iowa, according to Epstein.