Shocker: Manny Ramirez retires following a second positive drug test

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Big news: Major League Baseball just announced that Manny Ramirez has retired. Major League Baseball said that his retirement came after he was told of “an issue” with the drug treatment and prevention program.  The statement:

“Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.”

Since the report of his retirement came out it has been confirmed by multiple sources that Ramirez failed a drug test during spring training. Thus his retirement preempts a mandatory 100-game  suspension.

Manny was 1 for 17 for the Rays this year.  This was preceded by competing talk over the winter in which most people doubted Ramirez’s motivation in light of his meager contract while some — this writer included — thought that he felt he had something to prove to himself or baseball.  The drug situation obviously impacts this in a completely different way.

I’m assuming we’ll get an official statement from Ramirez or his agent soon.  We’ll update as we learn more.

Hometown hero Bryce Harper defeats Freddie Freeman to advance in Home Run Derby

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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper advanced to the second round of the 2018 Home Run Derby, swatting 13 home runs to best the 12 hit by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Harper was a No. 2 seed to Freeman’s No. 7, so the outcome isn’t a surprise. The hometown crowd in Washington, D.C. were certainly pleased that their star has advanced.

Harper would have had 30 seconds of bonus time since he hit two home runs that went 440 feet or total, but he got to 13 with time to spare in regulation. Harper maxed out at 467 feet in distance and 113 MPH in exit velocity. When interviewed on the field after his performance, Harper said, out of breath, “I’m tired!”

The second round is set. Rhys Hoskins (17 homers) will oppose Kyle Schwarber (16). Harper (13) will take on Max Muncy (17).