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.
Pirates minor leaguers Gift Ngoepe and Dovydas Neverauskas (pictured) were arrested on Sunday morning in Toledo, Ohio after a bar brawl, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, citing documents provided by the Toledo Municipal Court.
Ngoepe was charged with one count of simple assault and two counts of resisting arrest. Neverauskas was charged with two outs of resisting arrest and one count of misconduct. Tigers minor leaguer Warwick Saupold was involved as well and was arrested for simple assault.
Saupold allegedly punched Andrey Goncharuk (not a player for either teams’ affiliates) in the face outside of the Bronze Boar bar, which is across from the Toledo Mud Hens’ ballpark. Ngoepe allegedly wrapped his arms around the police officer who was attempting to arrest Saupold. Ngoepe allegedly twisted free from the officer and walked away. Neverauskas allegedly interfered with an officer and yelled, “What are you going to do, shoot me?” after being ordered to stand on the sidewalk.
Ngoepe, 26, is in his second season with Triple-A Indianapolis. The shortstop has put up a meager .644 OPS in 373 plate appearances.
Neverauskas, 23, was promoted to Indianapolis in mid-June. In 25 relief appearances, he posted a 3.60 ERA with a 24/11 K/BB ratio in 30 innings. The right-hander, who appeared in the 2016 Futures Game last month, is rated as the Pirates’ 25th-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Saupold, 26, has appeared briefly in the majors for the Tigers this season, yielding eight runs on 17 hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. He made five appearances from May 14 to 31 and one more on August 12 before returning to Triple-A Toledo.
Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been claimed on waivers by an as-yet unknown team. The Dodgers can now attempt to work out a trade with the claiming team, or simply give that team Puig. In that case, the claiming team would assume the responsibility for the remainder of Puig’s seven-year, $42 million contract, which has two years and $14 million left. The Dodgers can also pull him back from waivers if they can’t work out a deal, but that would mean Puig would be ineligible to be traded for the rest of the season.
August 31 is the deadline for teams to acquire players on waivers and still have them become eligible for the postseason roster.
Puig’s relationship with the Dodgers has hit the skids as of late. He’s had a letdown of a season both in terms of injuries and production. In 303 plate appearances, he has a .260/.320/.386 triple-slash line with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
The Dodgers demoted him to Triple-A Oklahoma City in early August. Shortly after arriving, Puig celebrated a win with his teammates that included some profane language and was broadcast on Snapchat. The Dodgers were not very happy about that. Since then, the Dodgers were reportedly “trying to give away Puig” but didn’t find a taker.