It was expected Ramirez would debut with Oakland on Wednesday, his 40th birthday, but he has gone 8-for-32 (.250) with no extra-base hits in his rehab assignment with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.
There have been several times in which Manny’s effort has been called into question, most notably in his final days with the Boston Red Sox, and this may be Oakland’s way of calling him out for slacking. We’ll see how Ramirez reacts when he’s not able to turn to performance-enhancing drugs to get him over the hump.
Ramirez has been one of baseball’s best right-handed hitters over the past two decades, but he is also it’s most infamous know steroids user, having tested positive for banned substances twice.
In March of 2009, Ramirez signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that made him baseball‘s highest-paid player. He was suspended for 50 games that May. Last year, Ramirez again tested positive for a violation of the drug policy, limiting him to five games played for the Tampa Bay Rays.
The second violation meant Manny was to serve a 100-game suspension. Instead, he retired and sat out the entire 2011 season. When he asked to be reinstated this year, the MLB cut the suspension down to 50 games.
His debt to the MLB has been served , but yet he still is stuck in the minors despite Oakland’s clear need for offense and excitement.
Oakland is 22-27, nine games behind the first-place Texas Rangers, and have lost six-straight games. Even if Manny can’t help on the field, he could certainly provide a boost in the stands. The A’s rank 28th in baseball in average attendance (20,218).
Without the cloud of steroids hanging over him, Ramirez would have been a sure fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. His numbers indicate he’s among the best right-handed hitters in baseball history. A 12-time All-Star who won nine Silver Sluggers, Ramirez has 555 home runs, 1,831 RBI, a .312 average and .996 OPS.
In 2010, Ramirez hit .298 with nine home runs over 90 games with the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. He went 1-for-17 in his five games with the Rays last year.