Manny Ramirez won't be returning to the big leagues with the Oakland A's after all. After Ramirez hit poorly in 17 games in the minors with the A's Sacramento team, hoping to get ready, Oakland decided it would not be bringing the ex-slugger up to the big club. Ramirez asked for and received his release. He's heading home to Florida to wait and see if any other team wants him.
The Dodgers won't be calling, the beat writers have been told. Manny, who turned 40 on May 30, burned his bridges here before being sent away to the White Sox in 2010. He abruptly retired last year from the Tampa Bay Rays after being suspended for a repeat drug violation. In the off-season, Ramirez said he was sorry and wanted to play again.
If this is the end, Ramirez goes out with 555 home runs, 14th most all-time. He was widely acknowledged as one of the best hitters of his generation, and of course had a heck of a brief run with the Dodgers a few year4s ago. Before his first suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers continue to have the best record in baseball with a lineup that looks sketchy on paper but that somehow gets the job done — so far. LA Times baseball writer Bill Shaikin addresses the Dodgers success so far in Sunday's column, noting that even the team's new president, Stan Kasten, said LA looked like a .500 team coming into the season.
The Dodgers have played so well they don't have to cherry-pick their statistics any more. In their last 162 games — that is, the length of the regular season — the Dodgers have won 94.
And yet there is Vin Scully, calling the Dodgers a "wonder team" once again on Friday's broadcast.
"You wonder how they do it," Scully said.
They're doing it the way they tried to do it last year, with five quality starters, a good bullpen and just enough offense....The Dodgers this year rank second in the National League in earned-run average and, even with the injury to Kemp and the virtual disappearance of James Loney, fifth in runs scored. They have scored more runs than the other first-place teams in the National League and, for that matter, more than the Angels, with their Pujols and Trout and the designated hitter too.
The hard part of the season is still ahead, but as Shaikin says, credit is due.
Also noted: The cover story in ESPN Magazine is a profile of Dodgers star Matt Kemp by Molly Knight. Excerpt:
From the outside, he looks like the same old Kemp: a guy whose talent is as raw as his composure is unformed, beguiling fans with the preternatural ability he doesn't care to hone. But perceptions are deceiving with Kemp, especially of late. The harder the game treats him, the more he respects it, cares about it -- and the better he plays.