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Papi feels bad for troubled Manny, says he’s ‘a good dude’

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David Ortiz hasn’t seen his friend and former Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez since the spring, when Boston played Tampa Bay in a Grapefruit League contest.

But he is well aware of all that has been going on with Ramirez this season, and feels bad for the disgraced former star.

Ramirez, who retired abruptly in April after news surfaced that he faced a 100-game suspension for failing a drug test for the second time, was arrested on Monday on charges of domestic violence. He was accused of slapping his wife in the face, causing her to hit her head on a bed’s headboard. He was released on $2,500 bail on Tuesday.

Ortiz spoke to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com about Ramirez on Friday, and while he didn’t condone Ramirez’s actions, he did say that retirement can be hard on a player who is used to playing baseball every day, and that stopping so suddenly, as Ramirez did, could be difficult.

He also spoke of reaching out to Ramirez to see how he was doing.

“He had a wonderful career, and it didn’t end the way he wanted it to, but he still had a great career. You marry your wife one day because you think that’s the right person to be right next to. Now that you need her the most, you don’t want to be going through things like that. It’s easier said than done, but Manny’s a good dude. He’s not a bad person. I hope everything works out for him and his family.”

It’s a sad story, and whatever you think of Manny Ramirez, you have to hope that this isn’t the beginning of a story that turns even sadder. Let’s hope that Ortiz is right about Manny. Maybe he can help his former teammate.

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Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.