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Manny Set for Return to Bigs

Posted: June 30, 2009, 12:17 PM ; Updated: June 30, 2009, 1:29 PM

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) -- Ready or not, Manny Ramirez is headed back to the big leagues.

The suspended slugger played what is expected to be his final minor league rehab game Monday night for Class-A Inland Empire, going 1 for 3 with two strikeouts. He is eligible to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night in San Diego after serving a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy.

The Dodgers originally planned to have Ramirez play another game with Inland Empire on Tuesday morning. But on Monday night, team spokesman Josh Rawitch said the slugger's stint in the minors was over.

In part because of the 11 a.m. start Tuesday, the Dodgers didn't see any need to push Ramirez further.

"I don't think one more game is going to make that much difference," said general manager Ned Colletti, who was in San Bernardino to watch Ramirez play against Rancho Cucamonga.

Ramirez batted leadoff as the designated hitter and beat out an infield single in his first at-bat Monday. For the second consecutive night, he struck out twice.

Once again, he declined to speak with reporters before the game.

Ramirez came out after striking out in the fifth inning. In five minor league appearances, all sellouts, he went 3 for 10 with a home run and two runs scored.

Colletti doesn't expect Ramirez to be in peak form as soon as he returns.

"He's probably going to be a little bit rusty," Colletti said. "You can't expect him to miss 50 games and come right back. But it takes less time for the best players."

 

Venus and Serena Cruise to Wimbledon Semifinals

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Five-time champion Venus Williams overpowered Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the Wimbledon semifinals and move a step closer to another possible championship showdown with sister Serena.

Williams, seeking her third straight Wimbledon title, outhit the 14th-ranked Pole from all parts of the court and proved again that she is the dominant female player on grass.

Williams had her left leg taped up again but showed no weakness at all as she ripped 29 winners -- compared to six for Radwanska -- in a match that lasted just 68 minutes on a sunbaked Court 1.

"I can't complain," said Williams, who will next face top-seeded Dinara Safina. "I'm in the semifinals of Wimbledon, right where I want to be. I just need to take another step forward."

Meanwhile, Serena Williams overpowered Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 6-2. She will face Russian Elena Dementieva in the semis.

 

Yankees Trade for Hinske

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eric Hinske has been acquired by the New York Yankees from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a pair of minor leaguers.

Pittsburgh will receive right-hander Casey Erickson and outfielder Eric Fryer for the utilityman. In addition, the Pirates will give the Yankees cash.

The 31-year-old Hinske hit .255 in 106 at-bats this season with nine doubles, one homer and 11 RBIs, playing right field, first base and third base.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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