Jayson Stark reports that Manny Ramirez had a workout in Florida a couple weeks ago for Japan’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.
We knew he was interested in playing in Japan, so this is not a terribly big surprise. Likewise, you’ll not be shocked to hear that the workout “didn’t go well.” I’m sure Manny still has some skills, but they’re likely not so great that they’re likely to overcome the fact that Japanese teams aren’t historically big on non-comformist yo-yos, and when you add in the recent criminal history of Manny’s, he’s toxic. Sure, if they thought he could hit 50 homers in Japan someone would take a chance, but he’s certainly seen his best days and may have also seen all of his useful days. No one with that profile is worth the baggage.
I think Manny’s only shot at playing again is (a) submitting to his 100 game suspension with no fuss to show people he’s going to be a good citizen; and (b) going on an absolute Rocky IV-style training binge, putting himself in better shape than he’s been in for a decade or something.
But really: when was the last time Ramirez did something with no fuss and when was the last time Ramirez appeared to dedicate himself to the game with focus and determination?
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.