Johnny Damon, Many Ramirez

Manny and Johnny: “We’re back!”

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Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon were formally introduced by the Rays today. They had a press conference. It sounds like it was a  laugh riot.  Highlights, taken from this WEEI report and Marc Topkin’s Twitter feed:

  • At the outset Manny smiled and said “we’re back!”
  • Manny did not put on his Rays cap because he said it did not fit over his hair.
  • Manny called Joe Maddon “the coach.”  When asked about the lineup, Manny said he can hit anywhere because he had 5 triples in 1998.
  • Manny said that he was not at all about the money but rather he was out to prove himself now and that’s all the motivation he needed.  I want to believe him — and I am prepared to admit that even Manny has pride — but every single writer who has ever covered they guy is questioning his motivation with a low contract right now. Not just the normal hater-types.  This will be interesting to watch.
  • After being given number 24 by the Rays he said that he didn’t have a problem not being 99 because 99 is his National League number and 24 is his American League number. I’m actually going to suspend my disbelief about this and acknowledge that Manny may very well have thought this up when he was a teenager and that it was always his plan.  To do this, I’ll forget that he wore 99 with the White Sox last year.
  • Damon called Manny “one of greatest hitters of our generation.”  Manny said “thank you Johnny.”
  • Each player was asked about their physical shape. Manny flexed and pointed to his bicep. Damon said that they could either look in mirror and flex or “we can go in shower  and compete there.”
  • Damon said that the Rays are his “Dream Team.”  No word if he admitted that he really didn’t like that octopus up in Detroit last year or if his happiness winning World Series rings in Boston and New York was a big sham.  I’m totally convinced at this point that he could get signed by the Carolina Mudcats and he’d say “I always wanted to play here.”
  • Manny said he had been working out with Evan Longoria and that “I’m trying to help him find his cap.”
  • Joe Maddon said about Johnny and Manny: “I just want them to be themselves.”

They’re way ahead of you Joe.

Video: Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran give signs from the dugout

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.

You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.