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July 11, 2013

Manny Ramirez already subjected to random drug test

If the Rangers have any lingering doubts as to whether Manny Ramirez is playing it clean in his comeback bid, they should soon know the answer thanks to a curiously timed random drug test during the slugger's first week with Triple A Round Rock.

A source said on Thursday that all players who weren't on the 40-man roster were subjected to a drug test earlier this week. Included in the group was Ramirez, who twice has failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs.

General manager Jon Daniels declined to comment on the timing of the test, but said that the word from Round Rock indicates that Ramirez, 41, has been a model citizen after signing a minor-league contract last week with no guarantees of getting a promotion to the Rangers' roster.

"The reports have all been very positive," Daniels said. "The guys say he's been in the cage early and often, and generally has been a good influence."

Ramirez, who has shorn his hair to comply with the Rangers’ minor-league code of conduct, was batting .250 (3 for 12) entering a game Thursday at Omaha. He homered and drove in three runs Tuesday.

But the Rangers aren't ready to make a knee-jerk reaction based on Ramirez's early returns.

"I don't have high expectations, and I don't have low expectations," Daniels said. "It's truly a situation where we didn’t have anything to loose by taking him. There's a chance he makes a contribution, but we're taking it day by day. It'll be a few weeks before we know if he'll be able to contribute."

-- Jeff Wilson


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