ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers keep winning without Manny Ramirez, and that’s just fine with the slugger.

Ramirez said Wednesday he hasn’t felt added pressure while preparing to rejoin the Los Angeles lineup. He’s doing a minor league assignment this week after a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug rules.

Going into Wednesday night’s game at the Chicago White Sox, the Dodgers are 26-16 without Ramirez. Because of that success, Ramirez said he just needs to get healthy and do his part when he returns.

“I want to get into shape,” Ramirez said. “That’s what I want to do. They’re playing great. I don’t have to go and worry about, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do this or I’ve got to do that.'”

For the second straight night, Ramirez was batting leadoff and playing left field for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, the Dodgers’ top farm team. He is scheduled to rejoin the Dodgers on July 3 at San Diego.

In Chicago, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Ramirez will play Thursday in Albuquerque then return to California on Friday to join the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate for a contest Saturday at Lake Elsinore.

Ramirez then will play three home games in San Bernardino.

He was working out at Dodger Stadium during his suspension but returned to the lineup Tuesday night as Albuquerque beat Nashville 1-0. Ramirez played four innings and was hitless in two at-bats with no fielding opportunities.

“I haven’t played for three months,” Ramirez said. “I’ve got to get ready. It’s not the same when you’re in the outfield standing up. You saw me. I was running. I was hitting. But it’s not like playing a game when you go four innings.”

He was expected to play five innings on Wednesday and seven on Thursday.

Isotopes manager Tim Wallach said Ramirez has been a positive influence in the minor league clubhouse, talking with younger hitters about what he does to be successful at the plate.

“He’s spending a lot of time with them,” Wallach said. “I saw him do that in spring training as well with older guys, younger guys. He shares the knowledge, tells guys what works for him.”

Wallach also said with Ramirez in town there’s even been a benefit from the added media presence around Albuquerque’s clubhouse.

“This is good for guys to experience,” Wallach said. “I don’t think this is a bad thing. You get into the playoffs, that sort of stuff at the next level, you’re going to have this. You’re going to have to know how to deal with it.”


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