Players pick Joe Maddon as MLB’s most popular manager

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In a recent Sports Illustrated poll 291 players voted on which manager they’d most like to play for and Joe Maddon came out on top with 14 percent of the vote.

Terry Francona finished second, followed by Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia, and Dusty Baker.

Asked about the poll results, Maddon equated it to a ninth-grade dance. Seriously:

Joe Maddon said the manager vote was his first such honor since being voted King of Hearts as a ninth-grader for a dance at D.A. Harmon Junior High in Hazleton, Pa. “I told my mom you’re not permitted to come and she showed up [anyway],” he said. “And I had to do the first dance in front of everybody in the gym.”

He doesn’t have to dance this time, but Maddon did voluntarily wear a football helmet during a press conference earlier this week.

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.