Manny Ramirez is expected to join the Chicago Cubs' triple-A Iowa affiliate next week.
Ramirez will begin his stint as a player/coach to help develop some of the Cubs’ hitting prospects. He was hired in late May and has spent the past few weeks at the club’s spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz.
“Manny has been doing a great job in Mesa,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said, according to ESPN. “He’s the first one to the ballpark every day, he’s been meeting with the young kids daily. Talking about hitting, talking about some of the mistakes he made off the field, really keeping them focused on working hard. I’ve gotten unsolicited emails and texts from a lot of our staff down there saying he’s been a breath of fresh air. The best thing to happen to the kids down in Mesa. I’m really pleased with the impact he’s making on the organization.”
Epstein has said that Ramirez does not fit in with the club’s major-league plans, but said he will be patient in working Ramirez into its minor-league affiliate.
“We’re not in a rush because he’s making an impact with our young kids down there,” Epstein said.
A-ROD DROPS IT
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez dropped his lawsuit against team doctor Chris Ahmad on Friday.
Rodriguez, who was suspended the entire season for his role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drugs scandal, will make a comeback attempt with the Yankees next season.
“He has full intentions on playing in 2015,” Rodriguez’s spokesperson Ron Berkowitz told CBS Sports.
The Yankees have not commented.
Rodriguez also dropped lawsuits against Major League Baseball and the players union several months ago that were related to his suspension.
“All legal matters have been resolved,” Berkowitz said.
Rodriguez had filed a lawsuit against Ahmad related to his hip injuries.
The Yankees will likely welcome Rodriguez back next year since they are thin in the infield and cutting him would cost them the remaining $61 million the third baseman has left on his contract.
Rodriguez will turn 40 next year and is coming off two hip surgeries. He hasn’t played since his suspension last August.
Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas has defected, according to multiple reports.
Tomas, 23, stars for Industriales of Havana. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound corner outfielder represented Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and has played for Industriales since 2008.
Tomas batted .286 with 15 home runs, 60 RBIs and 45 runs scored in 81 games with Industriales last season.
This year, Tomas batted .290 with six home runs in 257 plate appearances. Baseball America reported that Tomas may have had an arm injury from colliding with an outfield wall.
Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, Oakland Athetics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig are among the recent players to defect from Cuba and sign multimillion-dollar contracts in the major leagues.
This year, Cuba began allowing players to sign temporary contracts to compete overseas if they fulfill domestic commitments. In the past, the communist country prohibited players from playing professionally outside Cuba.
FLOYD MAY BE DONE
The Atlanta Braves placed right-hander Gavin Floyd on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a broken elbow.
He is most likely done for the year.
Floyd sustained the injury Thursday after throwing a pitch during the Braves’ 3-0 shutout of the Washington Nationals.
After the game, X-rays revealed that Floyd fractured his olecranon, a bone at the end of the elbow.
The club recalled left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter from triple-A Gwinnett to take Floyd’s spot on the 25-man roster.
Floyd missed 2013 and the start of this season coming back from Tommy John surgery. He is 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA.
Buchter has a 3.79 ERA in 35 2/3 innings of relief with Gwinnett.
FIELDER ON LONG-TERM DL
The Texas Rangers moved first baseman Prince Fielder to the 60-day disabled list Friday to make room on the 40-man roster for left-handed pitcher Justin Marks.
The Rangers claimed Marks off waivers from the Oakland Athletics.
Fielder is expected to miss the entire year following neck surgery May 27.
Fielder hit .247 with three home runs and 16 RBIs over 150 at-bats this season. He averaged 28 home runs and 107 RBIs in 2012 and 2013.
Marks had only been in the Oakland organization for two weeks. He pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings in relief for triple-A Sacramento, but was far less effective earlier in the year with the Kansas City Royals’ triple-A team in Omaha where he compiled a 5.64 ERA.
BREAK FOR GRILLI
The Pittsburgh Pirates are giving reliever Jason Grilli a break from the closer role after he gave up a game-tying home run against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
Mark Melancon will take over as closer for now. Manager Clint Hurdle said Grilli’s demotion is not meant to be permanent.
Melancon filled in for Grilli earlier in the season when he went on the disabled list. He also closed games when Grilli was injured for part of last season.
Grilli, 37, is 0-2 with 11 saves and a 4.34 ERA this season. Melancon is 1-2 with 10 saves and a 1.89 ERA.