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It’s safe to say the Cubs shocked the baseball world when the team announced Sunday that Theo Epstein and Manny Ramirez put their past behind them and Ramirez signed a minor league contract to be a player-coach for the Iowa Cubs.
According to a report from Patrick Mooney, Theo Epstein thinks Ramirez has “changed, coming clean to Major League Baseball and wanting to give back to the game.” Epstein admitted there is no way to know for sure but “there’s potential for high impact.”
Theo Epstein explained that if Ramirez “can just influence one player, make them a little bit calmer in the box, give them a little better mental approach to hitting, teach him something about how to approach the right-handed breaking ball the right way” and to be the right influence while telling players not to use PEDs “then it was worthwhile.”
Patrick Mooney reported “the Cubs won’t hesitate to end this experiment” if it does not go well with Manny Ramirez. Epstein, however, thinks it will go well and he told Patrick Mooney he thinks “we’re doing this for the right reasons.”
Mike Olt was asked about Ramirez from their time together last season in the Rangers organization. Last year Olt said he learned a lot about hitting from Ramirez and reiterated the same on Sunday. Olt said he had “an awesome experience” with Ramirez.
Former teammate and current Cubs’ hitting coach, Bill Mueller told Patrick Mooney, “If he’s going to be open to help and be unselfish, it’s going to be a great fit.”
The Des Moines Register caught up with the I-Cubs general manager, Sam Bernabe. Bernabe said he would’t be surprised if Ramirez has joined the team by the time Iowa returns home from a long road trip on June 5. When asked about the role Ramirez will have with the team, Marty Pevey told the Des Moines Register he will mostly be used in pinch-hitting situations and as a designated hitter.
This is a questionable decision, one that should be looked at very carefully. If Manny Ramirez can help teach players like Javier Baez how to hit and how to prepare on a daily basis, it will turn out to be a good addition to the organization. But if Ramirez is unable to keep up his end of the deal, the relationship should be ended quickly.
Minor News and Notes
Kyle Hendricks pitched six innings on Sunday, picked up the win and said after the game that the sprained foot that forced him to miss his last start is doing fine.
Kris Bryant’s hitting streak came to an end on Sunday. Kris Bryant went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Smokies’ 7-2 win over Mobile. Bryant’s hitless day dropped his line over the last 10 games all the way down to .361/.425/.639 with a 1.064 OPS.
Javier Baez extended his hitting streak to 10 games in grand fashion. After a single in his second at bat to extended the streak, Baez hit a home run to right center in the fifth with the bags loaded. Baez is up to .211/.278/.415 for the season with seven doubles, one triple and seven home runs. Baez is slashing .390/.409/.829 during his 10 game hitting streak with six doubles, four home runs and a 1.238 OPS.
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – Cubs traded Ryan Buchter to the Braves for Rodrigo Lopez
1997 – Sammy Sosa hit an inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning of a Cubs 2-1 victory at Wrigley Field. Tony Womack also hit an inside-the-park homer run in the sixth inning for the Pirates. And for the first time in 20 years two different players hit inside the park home runs in the same inning. Bump Wills and Toby Harrah accomplished the feat for the Rangers on consecutive pitches at Yankee Stadium in 1977.
1995 – The Red Sox selected Tuffy Rhodes off waivers from the Cubs
1986 – Jim Deshaies picked up his first big league win in an Astros’ 4-1 victory over the Cardinals. Deshaies struck out 10 batters in seven innings.
1971 – Jason Bere, born
1957 – Rookie pitcher Dick Drott struck out 15 batters (Hank Aaron four times) in a 7-5 victory over the Braves at Wrigley Field. The 20-year old right hander set the modern franchise mark (since 1900) in his seventh start. Burt Hooton (1971) and Rick Sutcliffe (1984) equaled his mark. Kerry Wood broke the record Drott set 41 years later.
1935 – Eddie Haas, born
1909 – Oval Overall pitched a complete game and beat George Bell and Brooklyn 2-0. Overall extended his winning streak over Brooklyn to 11 straight games, the streak began in 1906.