Wilson Ramos to resume playing in Venezuelan winter league tonight

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Wilson Ramos is scheduled to be back in the lineup for Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan winter league tonight, less than a week after being rescued following a kidnapping at gunpoint.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo signed off on Ramos remaining in Venezuela and returning to game action, but told ESPN-980 in Washington that the team plans to give Ramos a physical exam following the winter meetings next month and will have him speak to a specialist “equipped to talk to people in these types of situations.”

Ramos finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .267 with 15 homers and a .779 OPS in 113 games, which is one of the most productive seasons by a 23-year-old catcher during the past 25 years.

Phillies promote Chris Young to pitching coach position

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Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.

Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.

The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.