Aramis Ramirez balks at rehab stint, set to return Friday

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Out since April 5 with a sprained left knee, Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is on track to return from the disabled list on Friday.

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Ramirez would be rejoining the Brewers’ lineup without going on a minor-league rehab assignment first, which is rare this early in a season.

And manager Ron Roenicke admitted to McCalvy that the team would prefer Ramirez go on a rehab stint, but “a player has a right not to rehab” and “you work with whatever player it is, you explain things to him, and they have the decision.”

In other words, Ramirez vetoed playing a few games in the minors to make sure his knee is ready.

Two mystery teams are talking to Manny Machado

Manny Machado
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The Phillies and White Sox have dominated much of the conversation around free agent Manny Machado this winter, but Andy Martino of SNY says that they may have some stiff competition as the clock winds down to Opening Day. Two mystery teams have been recently linked to the slugger, and Fancred’s Jon Heyman adds that one of them currently has the high bid, though they’re not considered his “preferred landing spot.”

There’s little sense in putting any stock in these kinds of rumors, of course, but it’ll be interesting to see how Machado’s camp responds in the weeks to come. The 26-year-old’s father, Manuel, added some fuel to the fire on Friday after taking an interview with Z101 Digital, saying, “I believe that the team you will probably less think about is the one that’s going to sign Manny Machado.”

Whether that’s in reference to the Yankees, who are apparently still in the conversation, or a true unknown team remains to be seen. Machado has given little, if any indication that he’s leaning toward a particular club, but is generally expected to be more receptive to whichever suitor feels inclined to meet his 10-year, $300 million asking price. At the very least, Manuel’s comments may help light a fire under the Phillies and White Sox as they continue to mull over a potential deal with the four-time All-Star.