(CBS) — The Chicago Cubs plan to promote former All Star slugger Manny Ramirez to Triple A Iowa next week.
President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein on Friday said Ramirez, who has been getting in shape and working with young players at the team’s complex in Mesa, Ariz., will be moved up soon.
“Manny has been doing a great job in Mesa,” Epstein said. “He has been the first one to the ballpark every day. He has been meeting with the young kids daily. He has been talking to them about hitting and not making some of the mistakes he made off of the field. I have got unsolicited emails and texts from a lot of the staff. They’re saying he has been a breath of fresh air and the best thing that has ever happened to the kids in Mesa.”
The Cubs signed Ramirez to a contract to play and coach, specifying that he will not be considered as a big-league player for the Cubs now or in the future.
With the promotion of Kris Bryant to Triple A on Wednesday and the continued player development of Javier Baez at Iowa, the timing to move Ramirez up seemed logical to the Cub brass.
“We said that up front, that we have some exciting offensive prospects. Manny knows as much about hitting as anybody,” Epstein related. “We think he can enhance the solid hitting instruction we already have in the minor leagues. Manny is the calmest right-handed hitter I have ever seen. We think if he can help teach that calmness to one player in our system it will be worth it.”
Ramirez last played in the majors in 2011. He hit .312 with 555 home runs over an 18-year career.