ROUND ROCK In front of a paid crowd of 8,910 screaming fans who braved periodic showers throughout the game Sunday night, Manny Ramirez didn't disappoint. In his first at-bat as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the second inning, Ramirez pounded a fastball from Omaha Stormchaser right-handed pitcher Yordano Ventura to right field. The crowd went crazy and leapt to their feet as Ramirez rounded first base.

Round Rock Express starting pitcher Jake Brigham only allowed four hits and a walk on his way to a 4-0 shutout win over Omaha, the Triple A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Texas Rangers, who acquired Ramirez from playing in the Taiwan League, just put starting designated hitter Lance Berkman on the 15-day disabled list. It's possible that Ramirez could see action in Arlington sooner than later, if he keeps up his hitting. Ramirez went 1-for-3 with a single, strikeout and a walk.

Ramirez was beaming with enthusiasm as he met with reporters before Sunday night's game. I've been waiting for this day for a long, time, Ramirez said. I'm just like a little kid going back and playing the game that I love.

Ramirez, at age 41, still has a spark in his bat apparently.

I'm just excited to get a chance to be playing at the next level again, Ramirez said.

The Round Rock Express sit atop the American South Division of the Pacific Coast League, going into Monday night's action with a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers' affiliate in Albuquerque.