Francisco Rodriguez set to return to Mets today

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Francisco Rodriguez is scheduled to return from his two-game suspension tonight, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya spoke with reporters before Friday’s game, expressing his disappointment in Rodriguez’s actions.

“It’s not acceptable,” Minaya said Friday, before the Mets opened a series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“He understands that. He admits that. He feels really bad, of course.
He put not only himself, he put his teammates and the organization in a
bad light.”

Minaya said the two-game suspension without pay “was the right amount of time” for a suspension, but multiple sources told Rubin that the team likely would have faced a grievance and found themselves before an arbitrator if they tried to hand down a suspension for longer than two games. According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, Rodriguez has agreed to undergo anger management treatment, however if he somehow changes his mind and rejects the treatment, he could face further discipline. 

Because of back-to-back complete game shutouts by Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey, the Mets haven’t actually needed a closer over the past two days. Journeyman left-hander Pat Misch opposes Roy Halladay tonight, so it’s possible Jerry Manuel could give K-Rod some work.

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.