The Dodgers activated Manny Ramirez from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. He is expected to be in the starting lineup against Jhoulys Chacin and the Rockies later tonight. Ramirez has been sidelined since April 23 due to a strained left calf.
Ramirez, who turns 38 in May, was batting .415/.500/.659 with two homers and 12 RBI over his first 41 at-bats before going on the DL. Take heed of small sample sizes, but Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. finds that the Dodgers have scored 6.53 runs per game with Manny in the lineup this season, and 3.93 runs per game without him. And this is with his replacements (Xavier Paul, Reed Johnson and Garret Anderson) batting a combined .415/.500/.659.
Anytime you can bring a bat like Manny back to your lineup, it’s a very good thing, but the Dodgers biggest problem right now is their starting pitching. Entering play on Saturday, Dodgers starters have combined for a 4.86 ERA — 13th in the National League. They are second to last in the league with 76 walks over 151 1/3 innings. Manny can’t fix that.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.