Rangers have “no plans” to call up Manny Ramirez

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Manny Ramirez is 9-for-30 (.300) with three homers and a .964 OPS in nine games at Triple-A, but T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers have “no plans to bring him to the big leagues after the All-Star game.”

Lance Berkman is expected back from the disabled list next week, at which point the Rangers will no longer have an immediate need at designated hitter. And they’d probably want Ramirez to hit well for more than 30 at-bats regardless of Berkman’s situation.

Ramirez, who signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers on July 3 and underwent a random drug test at Triple-A less than a week later, hit .352 in 49 games in Taiwan before returning to the United States.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.

Ryan Braun heads to the disabled list after injuring his calf again

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Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun had been off the disabled list for four whole days. Now he’s going back on it after re-aggravating his calf injury yesterday against the Diamondbacks. It’s the same injury that put him on the DL earlier this month.

Braun has been productive when he’s been able to play, hitting .262 with seven homers, 19 RBI and stealing four bases in 30 games, but calf injuries tend to be nagging things, especially for dudes over 30. He’ll have an MRI to determine how much time he’ll miss.

In the meantime, left field duties will be shared between Hernan Perez, Nick Franklin and Eric Thames.