Marty Marion: 1917-2011

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Marty Marion, an eight-time All-Star who spent 11 seasons as the Cardinals’ starting shortstop and won the NL MVP in 1944, has passed away at age 94.

Marion’s reputation was always much bigger than his numbers, even during his MVP season, as he hit just .267 with six homers and a .686 OPS that ranked 64th in the league. Despite that he beat out various sluggers, including teammate Stan Musial, and also finished among the top 10 in MVP voting with similarly modest numbers in 1942 and 1945.

Nicknamed “The Octopus” for his prowess defensively, Marion was one of the first “big” shortstops at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds. In fact, prior to his debut in 1940 there were just three shortstops in baseball history listed as taller than six feet.

St. Louis had zero losing seasons with Marion at shortstop and won three World Series titles.

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.