Ramirez embarks on trip with Express

Round Rock's veteran designated hitter singles on first pitch

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | July 7, 2013 9:43 PM ET

It had been over a year since Manny Ramirez last played in the Pacific Coast League -- or in pro ball anywhere in the United States -- but he showed little rust in his first opportunity Sunday.

"Not bad for not playing in two weeks or facing a pitcher," Ramirez told MLB.com after singling to right field on the first pitch he saw from Royals' No. 3 prospect Yordano Ventura.

"I've got to make some adjustments. Haven't faced a guy in two weeks and [Ventura's] throwing 100."

Ramirez batted fourth and finished 1-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout and a groundout in the Express' 4-0 win over the Storm Chasers.

Ramirez last played in the Major Leagues in 2011, when he had 17 at-bats with Tampa Bay. He was with the PCL's Sacramento River Cats through last June 15, when he requested and received his release.

This year, Ramirez played 49 games for Taiwan's EDA Rhinos in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, hitting .352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs. He left the team on June 19 in order to begin a comeback effort in the United States. He signed with the Rangers on July 3.

On Sunday, he dribbled to short in his second at-bat, and Ventura struck him out in a four-pitch at-bat in the fifth. Ramirez took a called strike, watched a ball, then swung and missed at Ventura's next two offerings.

"I was just trying to get a pitch to hit. I was just trying to get comfortable," Ramirez said. "It's gonna take time -- everything's not falling in place in one day. Big jump from Taiwan."

The Rangers have set no timetable on his return to the Major Leagues, and Ramirez himself indicated he's not in any particular rush.

"I'm just gonna go day by day and keep progressing and see what happens," he said. "I've waited for this for a while."

Top Texas prospect Mike Olt doubled, singled and scored for the Express. Round Rock starter Jake Brigham gave up four hits and two walks while fanning four over seven innings.

Ventura piled up nine strikeouts over five innings, but he fell to 2-3. He allowed three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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