Hanley Ramirez wants to be “a Dodger for life”

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From Dylan Hernandez at the Los Angeles Times:

PHOENIX — In the clubhouse a day before position players were scheduled to report for spring training, Hanley Ramirez said Wednesday he wanted to be “a Dodger for life.”

But Ramirez otherwise declined to talk about his contractual status, saying with a smile, “I’m a baseball player.”

It was reported in late January that Ramirez and the Los Angeles front office were in the “early stages” of extension negotiations, and it stands to reason that the discussions will get more serious once all of the parties involved settle into spring camp.

Ramirez, 30, hit .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 86 games last season.

He is currently scheduled to hit the free agent market five days after the 2014 World Series.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.