Manny Ramirez will be back soon. Gentlemen: start your narratives


Remember the first time Manny Ramirez got a drug suspension and then got all kinds of crap because he was allowed to go on a triple-A rehab assignment before the 50 games was up?  Yeah, it seems like a long time ago that people cared that much about what Manny did.

He’s doing it again. Starting Sunday, when he’ll report to Sacramento to serve out the last few days of his latest suspension and then join the Oakland A’s.  And, as he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, he’s excited about it:

“I will be ready.  I’m going to go crazy to please the fans.”

“I will do anything — absolutely anything I need to do — in order to hit home runs and make the fans happy,” he did not add, because presumably he has at least a modicum of self-awareness.

Seriously, this is an interesting time for Manny and the A’s.  At 19-17, Oakland is exceeding expectations and is actually to stir a little something in a fan base thought dead.  If Manny comes back and keeps the A’s humming at a respectable level — or even spurs them into sustained contention — the Manny narrative becomes something totally different than it has been for him for the past couple of years.

If, however, his return coincides with Oakland going on a skid — whether he produces or not — will he get the blame for it? Will he be characterized as poison?

Blue Jays sign Danny Espinosa to minors deal

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Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.

Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.

Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.