10:05 p.m. EDT update: Nope, no promotion. Rizzo left Triple-A Iowa’s game with a sore right wrist, according to CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney.
The Cubs could be ready to pull the trigger on a big move following a humiliating sweep at the hands of the Pirates. CSNChicago.com states that Anthony Rizzo was pulled from Triple-A Iowa’s game Sunday for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning, and no injury was reported.
Of course, this being a minor league game, Rizzo could still be injured and no one is willing to say quite yet. Or it could even be a punitive benching.
One thing is for sure: the Cubs, losers of 12 in a row, are in desperate need of a lift. And Rizzo would seem to be the obvious candidate to provide it. The 22-year-old has hit .354/.416/.713 with 17 homers and 44 RBI in 178 at-bats for Iowa this season.
A Rizzo promotion would likely put Bryan LaHair in left field, turning Alfonso Soriano into a very expensive and likely unhappy fourth outfielder.
Still, this might be much ado about nothing. A source told David Kaplan that the Cubs still aren’t quite ready to make the Rizzo move yet.
Former Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez is reportedly being “eyed” in an ongoing federal and state investigation, per Michele McPhee of ABC News. McPhee did not elaborate on the exact nature of the investigation itself, but provided a few more details during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday:
“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”
McPhee further clarified that she thinks the suspect — who was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine — was tied to “a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”
Ramirez, the Red Sox, and Major League Baseball have all denied knowledge of any current investigation. According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg insisted that Ramirez had been dropped from the team for baseball reasons alone and had not been made aware of an investigation at the time of his release.
“Hanley has no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in this media report and he is not aware of any investigation,” the infielder’s agent, Adam Katz, added Friday.
The 34-year-old Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25 and became a free agent on June 1. Prior to his release, he batted .254/.313/.395 over 195 plate appearances, 302 shy of the 497-PA threshold he would have needed to cross in order to activate his vesting option for 2019. He’s still owed the remainder of his $22 million salary for 2018.