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Report: Orioles watch Manny Ramirez take batting practice

The Orioles are reportedly showing interest in Manny Ramirez, at least enough to want to see him swing a bat again.

Baltimore was one of two clubs -- the Blue Jays were the other -- to watch Ramirez take batting practice in Miami, according to a report by ESPN Deportes. It had been reported last week that Ramirez was planning to work out for teams this month.

Orioles exective vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette wouldn't comment on the team's interest in Ramirez, who abruptly retired in April when he faced a 100-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drugs. Ramirez had previously served a 50-game suspension for another failed drug test in 2009.

Last month, Ramirez was reinstated and his suspension cut to 50 games, which he would have to serve once he's signed by a major league club.

"Manny's an interesting guy," Duquette said. "He's interesting to the fans. And he can hit. Or he could hit. I don't know if he still can."

As the Red Sox's general manager, Duquette signed Ramirez in 2000 and has always liked Ramirez as a hitter.

"He wants another opportunity," Duquette said. "He's trying hard to get one."

The Orioles have an opening at designated hitter and have not made a push to resign Luke Scott, so there could be a hole for Ramirez.

But Ramirez's 50-game suspension is a huge roadblock for the Orioles. And manager Buck Showalter likes flexibility with the designated hitter position, something that handcuffed the team last year with Vladimir Guerrero limited to a DH role.

Ramirez, who turns 40 in May, was 1-for-17 last season with Tampa Bay before retiring. He has hit 555 career home runs, 14th most all time.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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