Former major league slugger Manny Ramirez will be eligible to return to the big leagues on Friday after his 50-game suspension is completed.

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It’s possible Ramirez could be back in a big league uniform forOakland’s series atKansas Citybeginning on Friday, or when the A’s return home againstTexason Monday.

Ramirez was batting .250 with no home runs and four RBIs with seven strikeouts and three walks in his first nine games with Triple-A Sacramento.

“We want to make sure Manny feels his is 100 percent ready when we pull the trigger on this move,” A’s assistant general manager David Forst said. “Once we make the move, we want him to be here to stay and to be able to contribute every day.”

Ramirez was permitted a 10-day rehab assignment with the River Cats. Ramirez, who turned 40 on Wednesday of this week, and has played 19 major league seasons, is a career .312 hitter. He ranks 14th on the all-time home run list with 555 and has 1,831 RBIs.

Ramirez retired fromTampaBaylast year instead of serving a 100-game suspension for failing a drug test a second time. His penalty was cut in half because he sat out most of last season.

The A’s signed Ramirez to a one-year minor league contract on Feb. 20. If he bounces back offensively, it will be a boost to the A’s, who came into Tuesday’s game ranked 28th (last in AL) with 162 runs; 29th (last in AL) with a .286 on-base percentage and 30th (last in majors) with a .211 batting average.

K Sale: Chris Sale attended the first Tampa Bay Devil Rays game in 1998. On Monday, he set a strikeout record for one pitcher at Tropicana Field, fanning 15 Rays batters in 7 1/3 innings.

The 23-year-old Chicago White Sox left-hander struck out Jose Molina with the tying run on third base for his 15th K to end the seventh inning in a 2-1 White Sox victory.

Salecame within one strikeout of tying the White Sox’s team record of 16, set by Jack Harshman on July 25, 1954, atBoston.

“I didn’t know what the record was,”Salesaid. “It’s nice, especially growing up and being kind of a Tampa Bay Rays fan.”

It was just the ninth career start forSale(6-2), who became a regular starter this season before getting sent to the bullpen with soreness in his left arm and returning to the rotation recently.

He’s the youngest pitcher to strike out 15 since the Chicago Cubs’ Mark Prior whiffed 16 on June 26, 2003.

“He’s special,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think that’s what you’re seeing is him being able to kind of manage the game and go for a strikeout. ”

StatsWatch: Strikeout leaders (through Monday):

  • Gio Gonzalez, Nationals, 79 strikeouts in 61.2 innings pitched.
  • Felix Hernandez, Mariners, 75 Ks in 76.2 IP.
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers, 75 Ks in 75.1 IP.
  • Cole Hamels, Phillies, 72 Ks in 70.1 IP.
  • Max Sherzer, Tigers, 72 Ks in 54.0 IP.

Quotable: “There shouldn’t have been a second-inning rally. There were three outs. I’m not mad at the (expletive) umpires. But (expletive), it’s a ridiculous (expletive) call. You guys need to write something and hold people accountable.” — Tigers manager Jim Leyland to reporters, on a blown call that should have been a third strike, leading to three runs by the Red Sox in the second inning of Boston’s 7-4 win at Fenway Park on Monday.

Diamond Notes: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly has been placed on the 15-day DL due to left shoulder inflammation. Lilly was 5-0 in his first seven starts…A’s CF Yoenis Cespedes is expected to return to the team on Friday after a minor league rehabilitation this week. He suffered a strained muscle on the back of his left hand and was placed on the DL on May 12…Baltimore CF Adam Jones has a new six-year deal with the team for $85 million. “We’re telling Oriole fans we’re committed to this player, we’re committed to putting a winning team on the field and we’re committed to providing hope to rebuilding our fan base,” Orioles GM Dan Duquette said. Jones led the Orioles with a .307 average, 14 homers and 31 RBIs going into Tuesday’s game…Tampa Bay purchased the contract of Hideki Matsui from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday. The designated hitter has played nine major league seasons with the Yankees, Angels and A’s…Magglio Ordonez will officially announce his retirement on Sunday inDetroit. The former Tigers’ right-fielder will be honored before the game against the New York Yankees atComericaPark. Ordonez, a career .309 hitter with 294 homers and 1,236 RBIs, played eight seasons with the White Sox and seven with the Tigers. He helped leadDetroit to a World Series appearance in 2006 and was the AL Batting Champion with a .363 average in 2007.

Copyright © 2012  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media. 

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