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A late arrival to spring training in 2009 as his contract was being negotiated, Ramirez started the season batting .348 with six home runs and 20 RBI over the first 27 games.
On May 7, though, he was suspended for violating baseball's drug policy. He returned to bat .278 in July and .301 in August, but hit just .218 from Sept. 1 until the end of the season.
A big turning point was a July 22 game against Cincinnati when he was hit on the wrist by a pitch from Homer Bailey. Despite hitting for average over the next month, Ramirez struggled with pitches on the inner half of the plate the remainder of the season.
The Dodgers have made the playoffs in both years Ramirez was on the team.
"I know he wasn't happy with the way things went on here (last season) and the way he struggled," manager Joe Torre said. "He was determined to get that thing straightened out. He watched a lot of video, did some work this winter and feels pretty good about where he is now."
Torre isn't about to buy into the idea that Ramirez won't play after 2010.
"I think it will depend on whether it continues to be fun for him," Torre said. "I'm sure there are things he wants to accomplish statistically. And just knowing Manny over the last 15 years or so, if it's not fun for him, he will have trouble going out there doing it as a job. But I'd like to believe he will play longer than this year."
Ramirez said he appreciated the support Dodgers fans have given him.
"It's been great," he said. "I wish I could have been there a long time ago. It's a great city and I had a blast there. I'm just happy the way they received me out there. It was unbelievable."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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