MLB confirms Manny Ramirez banned from playing winter ball

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Confirming reports from earlier this week, MLB executive vice president of labor relations Rob Manfred told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that Manny Ramirez is indeed banned from participating in an MLB-sanctioned winter ball league.

Ramirez had planned to play in the Dominican Republic, but to do so he’d have to get permission from Bud Selig and … well, that ain’t happening after he retired in April rather than serve a 100-game suspension.

Ramirez previously told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he was “really interested and enthusiastic” about playing winter ball and “it would be really sad if I’m not allowed to play.”

If he wants to continue playing at age 39 it’ll have to be in a lesser, non-MLB affiliated winter ball league or perhaps for an independent league team next season. There’s probably an opening on the Jose Canseco-managed Yuma Scorpions.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.