Manny Ramirez set to return from the disabled list tonight

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Out since late last month with a strained hamstring, Manny Ramirez is expected to return from the disabled list tonight against the Cardinals despite going 0-for-9 with five strikeouts during a brief rehab assignment at Single-A.
In his article about Ramirez’s impending return MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick writes that “he’s become more of a singles hitter than the slugger he once was.” Technically true, since like just about every player in baseball history Ramirez isn’t as good at 38 years old as he was at, say, 28 years old, but he hit .322/.412/.525 in 59 games before the injury to lead all NL outfielders in OPS. That’s one hell of a singles hitter.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.