Manny Ramirez worked out for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

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Jayson Stark reports that Manny Ramirez had a workout in Florida a couple weeks ago for Japan’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

We knew he was interested in playing in Japan, so this is not a terribly big surprise. Likewise, you’ll not be shocked to hear that the workout “didn’t go well.”  I’m sure Manny still has some skills, but they’re likely not so great that they’re likely to overcome the fact that Japanese teams aren’t historically big on non-comformist yo-yos, and when you add in the recent criminal history of Manny’s, he’s toxic.  Sure, if they thought he could hit 50 homers in Japan someone would take a chance, but he’s certainly seen his best days and may have also seen all of his useful days. No one with that profile is worth the baggage.

I think Manny’s only shot at playing again is (a) submitting to his 100 game suspension with no fuss to show people he’s going to be a good citizen; and (b) going on an absolute Rocky IV-style training binge, putting himself in better shape than he’s been in for a decade or something.

But really: when was the last time Ramirez did something with no fuss and when was the last time Ramirez appeared to dedicate himself to the game with focus and determination?

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.