Manny Ramirez made his debut as a Triple-A player/coach for the Cubs last night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while playing left field and batting sixth in Iowa’s lineup.
After the game Ramirez told Cody Ulm of MLB.com:
It feels great just to be here … and to help the young guys just telling them my experiences and the things that I’ve went through. It’s a blessing just to be here.
Here’s video of Ramirez’s first Triple-A at-bat, in which he reached on an error:
Cubs president Theo Epstein has said repeatedly that Ramirez was signed strictly to help mentor the Cubs’ prospects in Iowa, namely slugging, high-upside infielders Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, so even if he actually plays well there at age 42 a return to the big leagues isn’t going to happen in Chicago.
In fact, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago the plan is for Ramirez to play “sparingly” at Triple-A and, if for some reason another MLB team wanted to sign him and call him up to the big leagues, the Cubs would gladly let him go.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.