Hanley Ramirez hasn't apologized yet, but Fredi Gonzalez expects him to play tonight

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Fredi Gonzalez benched Hanley Ramirez last night and the Marlins won thanks in part to two RBIs from his replacement, but the manager said during a radio interview this morning that he “would be really surprised” if Ramirez isn’t back in the lineup tonight against the Cardinals.

It’s going to get resolved one way or the other today. I would be really surprised if he’s not in the lineup today. We’ll take care of it and he’ll be in the three hole and playing shortstop.

However, he said “not yet” when asked if Ramirez has followed through on Gonzalez’s demand that he apologize to the team.

I expect him to do it. I expect him to do the right thing, but I think he needs to address his teammates a little bit. When that happens, we are good to go.

Reading between the lines, that sure sounds like Gonzalez is still sticking with his demand that Ramirez apologize before playing again and is simply assuming the All-Star shortstop will comply by tonight’s game (and applying some subtle pressure in the process). Based on Ramirez’s actions so far that seems like a leap of faith, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.