Manny to prepare for Dodgers in minors

DENVER -- Suspended outfielder Manny Ramirez will be sent to the minor leagues for a week to 10 days as part of a rehabilitation assignment prior to rejoining the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ramirez is serving a 50-game ban for violating baseball's drug policy. He's eligible to rejoin the Dodgers on July 3.

Manager Joe Torre said before the Dodgers' game against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday that Ramirez has been doing conditioning work on his own in California but may soon go to the team's spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz., to work out.

While the Dodgers are still developing a plan for his return, Torre said Ramirez would need some time in the minors to get ready to return to Los Angeles.

"We've still got a ways to go with him," Torre said. "The most important thing was getting all the cobwebs cleaned out with all the things he's going through and that he'll continue to go through until he gets back and starts playing and the questions sort of taper off."

Torre said he hasn't spoken with Ramirez in recent days but the team knows he has been working hard on his own to stay in shape. The manager also said he's looking forward to Ramirez going to the Dodgers' spring facility to get more baseball-specific work.

"I think he's not ready for that right now" because of the media attention that would generate, Torre said. "Eventually, obviously, he's going to have to, but it hasn't been spelled out yet exactly what he's going to do anyway. More important now for him is to be in a routine and to get himself starting to think ahead as opposed to thinking about what's been going on."