PHOENIX -- When Manny Ramirez walked into the Oakland Athletics clubhouse at Phoenix Municipal Park on Friday, it seemed as though he had never left baseball.
Greeting a few familiar faces with handshakes and hugs, Ramirez flashed the same playful smile that charmed fans from Cleveland to Boston to Los Angeles. And when he stepped into the cage for batting practice, his famously sweet swing appeared, and it took just a few pitches before he crushed a ball over the wall in dead center field.
Ramirez, sporting familiar dreadlocks, smiled and laughed as he met new teammates. As he jogged in to kiss his wife Julianna before meeting a large throng of media, it appeared all was right in Manny's world -- just another spring in the sun playing the game he loves.
Then reality hit.
Attempting a comeback after an abrupt retirement last season, Ramirez carries over him the cloud of a second positive test for performance enhancing drugs and a looming suspension that will see him turn 40 be...