PHOENIX -- Manny Ramirez will take a few more days off from game action to rest the sore back that made him a late scratch from Wednesday's Cactus League game against the Dodgers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Ramirez was left behind to play in a simulated game at the nearby Papago Park complex along with newcomer Yoenis Cespedes and Daric Barton (right shoulder) when the A's traveled to Glendale for Thursday's rematch with the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Manager Bob Melvin said that Ramirez would not play on Friday against the Rockies at Salt River Fields but that he should be back as the designated hitter on Saturday against the Reds. The DH will not be used in the road game against the Rockies, Melvin said.
"He's better today," Melvin said of Ramirez, who is 0-for-5 with a strikeout in the two games he's played this spring. "He took a lot of swings [in batting practice] yesterday. He took some swings over here and felt it a little bit." Ramirez, 39, sat out the entire 2011 season after testing positive for the second time in his career for a performance-enhancing drug, and he will sit out the first 50 games of the season as part of the agreed-upon suspension. During that time he can't play in any games attended by paying fans until a 10-day rehab period just before the end of the suspension. He's eligible to return on June 2, at Kansas City, and at that point would be the team's DH. But that's a long way off, as far as Melvin's concerned. "That's a process, too," Melvin said. "We have to get through Spring Training evaluating him. Then it gets to the next step and the next step ..."