Hanley Ramirez bites back, calls Jeff Conine a “chicken”

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It took Hanley Ramirez some time to decide how to respond to Jeff Conine’s radio show comments last week, but he came out swinging Wednesday, calling Conine a “chicken” and saying that he wants to supplant the former first baseman as “Mr. Marlin.”

Conine, who is employed by the Marlins as a special assistant to team president David Samson, said Friday that Ramirez frustrates him nightly and that he’d probably trade the shortstop if it were up to him.

Ramirez said Wednesday that Conine should have addressed his comments to the shortstop personally, rather than taking it to the airwaves.

The Miami Herald has the quotes.

“If he’s got a problem, just come over and talk to me like a man,” Ramirez said. “Don’t be a chicken, talking on the (radio), because whatever you say is going to stay out there.”

Ramirez said his goal now is to take over as Mr. Marlin, a nickname given to Conine during his eight years with the club.

“I’m going to make it to the Hall of Fame being in a Marlins uniform,” he said. “This number (No. 2), nobody’s going to wear it.”

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.