Maybe it would have been a little too much, a little too soon.
Manny Ramirez, playing his fifth game with Round Rock after signing a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers, came to the plate in the eighth inning representing the go-ahead run.
He got ahead of Omaha pitcher Will Smith two balls and no strikes. He got a 93 mph fastball and drove it deep to center field. Very deep.
But Paulo Orlando ran it down on the warning track, preserving the 4-2 lead, and the Storm Chasers held on to win by that score Thursday night.
The Werner Park crowd of 7,030 was about 8 percent bigger than expected, more than likely because of the appearance of one of baseball's all-time greatest sluggers.
Ramirez started this season in Taiwan, then had about a three-week break before he started playing again.
“You've got to make adjustments,” Ramirez said. “When I was in Taiwan, the hardest pitchers threw 91 (mph), and you come here and everybody throws 95. So it's going to take time, little by little.”
The polarizing Ramirez, 41, a 12-time All-Star, earned mostly cheers but also a handful of boos for each of his plate appearances.
Ramirez, who told espn.com that he's donating his minor-league salary to charity, hit three balls well Thursday. Another was hit fairly well and was close to being a hit.
A larger than normal crowd of autograph seekers lined the tunnel near the team clubhouses in the left field corner before and after the game. Ramirez said he signed a couple.
“Every day I thank God for this opportunity, and I just enjoy it,” Ramirez said. “Everything is what kind of attitude you put into it. I've been in a lot of different situations, (so) just have a great attitude and move on. Because you don't know what you have until you lose it.”
His trademark long dreadlocks have been cut off — he trimmed them originally to conform with Texas' minor league policies — but has since gone with a nearly clean-shaven look.
“I love it,” Ramirez said. “It doesn't feel so heavy. Sometimes you let your hair grow to let it grow, and then you cut it and it feels so good.”
For the series, the Storm Chasers are running a promotion in which merchandise in their gift shop is discounted after the game based on the number of outs made by Ramirez (with the maximum discount 25 percent). Since he was 0 for 4 Thursday, the discount was 20 percent.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Ramirez and other Express players not on Texas' 40-man roster were recently given a random drug test, not an unusual event in minor league baseball.
The Rangers signed him to see if perhaps he could help them in a push for another playoff berth. So far he's 3 for 16 with a homer.
“He's had some very competitive at-bats, hit a home run,” said Round Rock third base coach Spike Owen, the acting manager of the Express. “It's still to be seen. It's too early to tell until he gets a few more at-bats, faces the kind of pitching he's facing over here.
“He'll let us know. By that I mean by his at-bats, how he's swinging the bat, how he's hitting the ball, how it's coming off his bat.”
Ramirez is 14th on baseball's all-time list with 555 homers and has 2,574 career hits.
“At 41 years old, if he can get that back, that would be something,” Owen said. “I wouldn't count him out at all, but it's a matter of getting his at-bats and seeing how he feels and seeing his production.”
Ramirez has twice been suspended for violating baseball's drug policy and hasn't played in the major leagues since 2011. He played with Class AAA Sacramento briefly last season.
He hit a hard, one-hop grounder to third baseman Anthony Seratelli for the final out of the first inning, and then Seratelli moved to his left to field a fourth-inning grounder by Ramirez before spinning and throwing him out.
Ramirez smoked another one-hop grounder in the sixth inning, this time to second baseman Christian Colon. Colon made a back-handed short-hop pickup as Ramirez dejectedly dropped his bat to the ground before being thrown out for the second out.
Then came the eighth.
“I had to come with a fastball, and he's an established, big-league hitter, so he knows what's coming,” Smith said. “He put a good swing on it, and I was lucky enough that it stayed in the park.”
It was Smith's first appearance since being sent down by Kansas City, so facing the likes of Ramirez isn't an intimidating situation.
“I thought if we made our pitches, we'd be OK,” Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. “That's the way baseball is. If you worry about it, that's when you make mistakes. Our guys did a good job of going at him and making him swing the bat.”