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Hanley Ramirez on manager Edwin Rodriguez: “I’ve got his back till the death, man”

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Edwin Rodriguez is starting to feel some heat with the Marlins tied for last place in the NL East at 32-36 after losing 13 of 14 games to begin June, but today Hanley Ramirez made it very clear that he’s in the manager’s corner.

Ramirez, who just returned from a stint on the disabled list and has hit just .206 while battling back problems, told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com that Rodriguez “is a pretty good guy and a pretty good manager … he’s smart.”

Here’s a little more from Ramirez, who’s expected to sit out day games following night games for the next two weeks:

I’m on his side. I’ve got his back, till the death, man. Everything he is doing is good for the team. I’m never complaining about anything he does. When the team wins, everybody wants to give credit to the players. When we don’t, everybody wants [to blame] the manager. That’s not the way it is.

I’m on his side. Whatever he wants to do, I’m all for. He’s the best guy we ever had here. He lets you play. We’re going through things where everything is going bad right now. But he’s there for you.

Ramirez is right, of course. His being hurt and ineffective along with Josh Johnson being on the disabled list for the past month has cost the Marlins more runs and more wins than anything tactical Rodriguez could possibly do.

On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily mean Rodriguez has done a good job and, even if he has, the Marlins fired Joe Girardi after he won Manager of the Year, canned Fredi Gonzalez following back-to-back winning seasons, and have never stuck with a manager for more than four seasons in their entire history.

Last week they fired hitting coach John Mallee and this afternoon Rodriguez held a team meeting before facing the Phillies, so the seat is definitely warming up.

Mets tell Jay Bruce they plan on having him start in right field

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jay Bruce #19 of the New York Mets reacts after striking out in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.

With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.

Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.