Blast from the past: Ramiro Mendoza aiming to pitch for Panama

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Former Yankees and Red Sox reliever Ramiro Mendoza has started training in the hopes of making Panama’s World Baseball Classic team for qualifying next month, MLB.com reports.

“It is a wonderful experience,” said Mendoza. “I [am coming] to do my part to help the boys, but I know they have a lot to offer for Panama.”

The 40-year-old Mendoza last pitched in the U.S. with the Yankees’ Triple-A club in 2006. He had his best season in the majors in 1998, going 10-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 14 starts and 27 relief appearances for the Yankees. He pitched for Panama in the first two WBCs in 2006 and ’09.

Panama will compete with Colombia, Brazil and Nicaragua for one spot in the main WBC tournament that takes place next March. It will have to do so without the greatest talent the country has ever produced, Mariano Rivera. Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Lee and Bruce Chen are among the handful of current major leaguers from Panama.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.