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Manny, the early returns

6/18/2010

BOSTON -- Batting practice at the Fens: Manny was cheered. Manny was booed. Manny hugged David Ortiz. Manny recognized Dustin Pedroia. Manny had nothing to say to his favorite people, members of the media.

“I don’t know, I hope he makes outs,’’ said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who made it pretty clear he had little interest in discussing Manny Ramirez’s return to Boston.

“Our day is set up to beat the Dodgers. I’m not the guy at the turnstiles welcoming people into town.’’

UPDATE: The reception in Manny's first at-bat was loud -- and mixed. Fans were on their feet as he led off the second inning, some cheering, some booing. He flew out to center.

Ramirez served as the Dodgers’ DH and bat fourth Friday night. Ramirez is batting .295 with 7 home runs and 33 RBIs in 48 games. He hit home runs in consecutive games Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since April 21-22, 2009.

Ramirez missed 14 games with a strained right calf and is batting just .248 (26-for-101) since his return to the lineup May 8.

Joe Torre, who also is making his first visit to Fenway since parting ways with the Yankees as manager after the 2007 season, has seen a lot of circuses on Yawkey Way. Asked about the fanfare for Ramirez, he said: “Well, you know it’s certainly understandable. I just hope that, and I know how fans here love to boo, I certainly hope they -- and I think they will, I think they understand how much Manny meant to this club when they won their two World Series."

Torre said he spoke with Ramirez about his return.

“Manny is certainly going to have a lot of emotion coming here. You’re never blasé about coming to Boston and playing in front of those fans and involved in so many pennant races and not have it be a big part of your life. I think he pretty much understands. I just told him he was going to DH. It’s not necessarily to keep him out of left field.

“I hope he does get a warm welcome. He was too colorful a person not to.’’

When Ramirez’s name was announced in the starting lineup, the reaction was mixed.

Williams College intern Daniel Pesquera contributed to this report.