Horacio Ramirez resurfaces in majors with Angels

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The Angels demoted reliever Michael Kohn and replaced him with journeyman lefty Horacio Ramirez prior to Wednesday’s game, bringing the former Brave back to the majors for the first time in two years.

Ramirez was last seen with the Royals in 2009.  Despite a horrible March, he was named the team’s fifth starter out of spring training that year — Dayton Moore and company badly wanted a left-handed starter in the rotation — only to get demoted after one start.  He had a 5.96 ERA in 22 2/3 innings that season before getting cut in June.

Ramirez debuted in the Braves in 2003, going 12-4 with a 4.00 ERA as a rookie.  After four seasons in Atlanta, he was famously traded to Seattle for Rafael Soriano, a deal that was so clearly awful at the time that it still manages to standout in Bill Bavasi’s disastrous tenure as Mariners GM.  Ramirez didn’t even last the season in Seattle as he racked up as 7.16 ERA in 20 starts.  Since leaving Atlanta, he has a 6.32 ERA in 158 innings as a major leaguer.

Now he’s back after going 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA as a reliever for Triple-A Salt Lake.  Lefties hit just .222 off him in 63 at-bats, so he’ll get a quick look before the Angels decide whether they need to pick up another southpaw before the deadline.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.