3/23 Ramirez catching up quick

Aramis Ramirez was 2-for-3 Tuesday in his first game since March 13. He was the designated hitter and singled in his first two at-bats, driving in a run in the fourth.

“I felt pretty good out there today,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez has been sidelined because of a sore right tricep and is doing limited throwing. Lou Piniella said he expects Ramirez to be back at third by Friday. Piniella also would like to get Ramirez about 30 more at-bats this spring.

“I don’t need 30 at-bats,” Ramirez said. “Five more and I’ll be ready to go. I haven’t played in 11 days, 10 days and I felt pretty good today. I don’t need that many at-bats.”

At the start of the day, Ramirez and Derrek Lee were the only regulars who did not have at least 20 at-bats. Marlon Byrd and Mike Fontenot already had 34 each. Maybe Ramirez doesn’t need as many as other players?

“I think no matter how good a hitter you are, you do need a certain amount of at-bats in the spring,” Piniella said. “I don’t know how many he has to date but I would hope that between now and the end of Spring Training, we can get him another 30 at-bats or so.”

Ramirez did have five at-bats in the Minor League camp. Piniella wasn’t concerned about the arm injury.

“If this was the start of the season, he’d be playing today,” he said of Ramirez.

“Probably,” Ramirez said. “Right now, I don’t want to take a chance. I’ll be ready.”

— Carrie Muskat

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