Rays manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times earlier today that Manny Ramirez called him following his shocking retirement announcement Friday afternoon.
“He expressed disappointment in himself to me,” Maddon said, “but also had really high praise for us as an organization, as a group, so I felt pretty good about that.”
Asked if Ramirez apologized, Maddon said: “He just said he was disappointed, he didn’t necessarily apologize. And I wasn’t looking for an apology actually. I wasn’t. He spoke to me kinda like man to man, person to person, manager to player kind of a thing. So I didn’t think he owed me an apology.”
Ramirez doesn’t exactly come off as a sympathetic figure here. He foolishly failed his second (technically third) drug test, left a giant hole in the Rays’ lineup and didn’t even have the decency to speak with the team before making his decision official.
On a more playful note, Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Fly Ball has a must-click graphic of how much time Ramirez actually spent playing for the Rays. It’s not quite 10 minutes like Jonah Keri estimated, but it’s pretty darn close.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.
The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.
Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.
Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.