Jim Hendry gets a vote of confidence

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Ever notice that team owners never feel a need to give good GMs votes of confidence?

The Cubs have the top payroll in the National League but headed into the
last game of the first half of the season on Sunday 9 1/2 games back in
the Central. Ricketts, who arrived Sunday and planned on attending
Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Anaheim, said he “had the highest level of
confidence” in general manager Jim Hendry.

“The fact is right now, Jim is our general manager, I support him, I
think he does a great job, and after that we’ll just take it one day at a
time,” Ricketts said.

The “highest level of confidence” stuff sounds pretty encouraging, but the “right now Jim is our general manager” part is a bit more declarative than it is inspirational.  Give Ricketts time, though. He’s still new at this ownership thing. This time next year we’ll be 100% sure if he’s being honest with this kind of stuff or if his votes of confidence are of the dreaded variety.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.