Aramis Ramirez balks at rehab stint, set to return Friday

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Out since April 5 with a sprained left knee, Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is on track to return from the disabled list on Friday.

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Ramirez would be rejoining the Brewers’ lineup without going on a minor-league rehab assignment first, which is rare this early in a season.

And manager Ron Roenicke admitted to McCalvy that the team would prefer Ramirez go on a rehab stint, but “a player has a right not to rehab” and “you work with whatever player it is, you explain things to him, and they have the decision.”

In other words, Ramirez vetoed playing a few games in the minors to make sure his knee is ready.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.