Ramirez to mentor their minor leaguers at the
11-09-2019, 11:06 AM
Post: #1
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs want Manny Ramirez to mentor their minor leaguers at the very end of a colorful career that includes two World Series titles and a pair of suspensions for positive drug tests. Ramirez signed a minor league deal with the Cubs on Sunday and will be a player-coach at Triple-A Iowa after he gets some at-bats in extended spring training at the teams facility in Mesa, Arizona. The 41-year-old Ramirez is a .312 hitter with 555 home runs in 2,302 games covering 19 major league seasons. Seven of those were in Boston, where Cubs executive Theo Epstein was the general manager of two Red Sox clubs that won it all with Ramirez playing a key role and earning a World Series MVP award. "While Manny is not and will not be a fit on the Cubs major league roster, we do think at this stage of his life hes a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization," Epstein said in a statement. "Manny will coach full-time and play part-time in a limited role that does not take at-bats away from our prospects. "If he shows there is still some magic in his bat, perhaps he will find his way to the major leagues and help another team, but that is not why he is here. We are thrilled that he wants to work with our young hitters and make a difference." Ramirez most recently played in the big leagues in 2011, with Tampa Bay. The 12-time All-Star had a minor league with Texas before the Rangers released him last August. "Im at the stage of my life and career where I really want to give something back to the game that I love -- the game that has meant so much to me and done so much for me and my family," he said in a release. "I know I am nearing the end of my playing days, but I have a lot of knowledge to pass on to the next generation -- both what to do and what not to do." Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in 2009 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers after testing positive for a banned drug. He retired in April 2011 instead of serving a 100-game ban for a second positive test while with Tampa Bay, but later agreed to a reduced 50-game suspension and played in the minors for Oakland in 2012. The teaching role for Ramirez is a bit of a gamble for Epstein, who is depending on Chicagos rich farm system to turn around the floundering franchise. The Cubs lost 197 games over the previous two seasons, and began Sunday in last place in the NL Central with an 18-29 record. "The reality is he is a great, great hitter who can provide valuable insight and knowledge," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said before the game at San Diego. Chicagos top hitting prospects at Iowa include infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez, a first-round pick in 2011 who is off to a slow start after he was a late cut by the Cubs following a solid spring training. Third baseman Kris Bryant, the No. 2 overall selection in last years draft, is one of the top hitters in the Double-A Southern League and could make it to Iowa by the end of the season. "The Cubs have some very talented young hitters, and I would love nothing more than to make a positive impact on their careers," Ramirez said. "I am passionate about baseball and about hitting, and I have a lot to offer. While I would love to return to the major leagues, I leave that in Gods hands. My focus will be on working with the young hitters, making sure they dont make the same mistakes I made, and helping the team any way I can." Ramirez was selected 13th overall by the Cleveland Indians in the 1991 amateur draft and rose quickly through the minor leagues, with a youthful exuberance and natural charisma that endeared him to just about everyone he met. He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in December 2000, helping the franchise win an elusive World Series championship a few years later, then doing it again in 2007. Ramirez led the American League with a .349 batting average in 2002, finished second the next year, and had an AL-best 43 home runs in 2004. But there was another side to Manny -- his lackadaisical play, particularly on defence and the basepaths, rubbed some managers and teammates the wrong way. "Manny has made real mistakes in the past but he has owned up to them and moved his life in a positive direction the last couple of years," Epstein said in a release. "He is in a really great place right now and wants to share the lessons hes learned along the way. We think he deserves another chance and that our young hitters will benefit from it." Alex Avila Diamondbacks Jersey . 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LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals ended their offensive slump, but the Kansas City Royals found a way to keep the National League champs down. Eric Hosmer hit a tiebreaking single off closer Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth inning and the Royals won 8-7 Tuesday night for their second straight road victory in the four-game, two-city series. "It was a great game back and forth, a lot of clutch hits by both teams," said Alex Gordon, who homered in both games. "It was good to see and hopefully we can build on this." Rookie Kolten Wongs first career home run was a grand slam in the second that ended the Cardinals 20-inning scoreless drought and gave them an early four-run cushion. Wong said it was the first grand slam hes hit at any level. "Its awesome," Wong said. "It was good to get us up early, try and give us a chance." The Cardinals finished a dismal 2-7 home stand when their pitchers faltered and fell to 30-29 overall. Before the game, manager Mike Matheny fielded an endless series of questions about the lack of hitting. Gordons three-run homer capped a six-run fifth for the Royals against Jaime Garcia that put them up by two. "We cant complain about what the offence did," Matheny said. "It just wasnt enough." Kansas City starter James Shields also scuffled, surrendering five earned runs in 5 1-3 innings, and has given up seven homers his last three starts. Shields helped himself with two hits, including an RBI double. "I was just kind of all over the place, really wasnt commanding my slider at all," Shields said. "I made three crucial bad pitches and thats what caused six runs." Peter Bourjos 422-foot homer put the Cardinals ahead 7-6 in the sixth. Alcides Escobars bloop RBI single off Pat Neshek tied it in the eighth, a rally fueled by pinch hitter Billy Butlers infield hit. Omar Infante doubled off Rosenthal (0-3) with one out in the ninth ahead of Hosmers hit. Wade Davis (5-1) allowed a hit in the eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances for the Royals, the home team for the last two gamess of intrastate interleague series that resumes Wednesday.dddddddddddd "That was one of those grinder games, where youre grinding right from the get-go -- everybody," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was a great game." Jhonny Peralta added two doubles and an RBI for St. Louis, outscored 14-0 the previous two games by the Royals and Giants. Wong was chosen as the NL rookie of the month earlier Tuesday and his slam in the second was the Cardinals fifth hit in 10 at-bats against Shields. St. Louis loaded the bases in the first, too, but Yadier Molina grounded into an inning-ending double play on good glovework by Escobar at shortstop and capped by Infantes barehanded grab on the move at second and relay. The Royals had one runner in scoring position the first four innings, then batted around and hit for the cycle in the sixth to take the lead. Gordon homered for the second straight day, Escobar had an RBI triple and Shields had an RBI double with his second straight hit. No St. Louis relievers warmed up during the rally and Matheny said after the game a couple of pitchers had been unavailable. "Im on the mound, Im trying to execute pitches until the manager takes the ball out of my hand," Garcia said. "Im not looking anywhere else." NOTES: Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (8-3, 2.32) opposes Jason Vargas (5-2, 3.39) on Wednesday night. Wainwright is 4-1 against the Royals and 9-5 overall in interleague play. Vargas has at least six strikeouts his last five starts, the longest such stretch of his career. ... Shields is the first Royals pitcher to get an RBI since Luis Mendoza May 29, 2013, at St. Louis. ... The Royals six-run inning tied their season best and tied the best against the Cardinals. ... Matt Holliday walked twice and has reached safely the first 30 home games. ... The Royals have played six games with new batting coach Dale Sveum, and have scored six or more runs in four of them. ... Escobars hit ended Nesheks career-best streak of 20 2-3 scoreless innings. ... Wong, the Cardinals 2B, said he jammed his shoulder a bit diving for Butlers infield hit in the eighth and might miss a game. ' ' '


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