Some sour grapes toward Manny Ramirez
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org April 9, 2011 12:02AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
MILWAUKEE — Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano said he was surprised and saddened by Friday’s stunning retirement of Manny Ramirez in the face of a second positive drug test in two years. Cubs manager Mike Quade said he didn’t know enough details to comment.
Sean Marshall says he wants his home run back.
“The fans threw it back,’’ the left-hander said of the seventh-inning homer Ramirez hit off him in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Game 1 playoff win in 2008. “I wish we could relive it over again, and maybe have a better chance of something different in that game.’’
The revelation that Ramirez tested positive for performance- enhancers again this spring was a bitter reminder for many in the Cubs’ organization who seethed over Ramirez’s team-changing performance for the Dodgers in 2008 just ahead of his first positive test.
Ramirez not only had a monster two-month finish during the season after his trade from the Red Sox that year, but went 5-for-10 with four walks and two home runs in the Dodgers’ first-round sweep of the Cubs. The Cubs privately felt his drug-enhanced presence in the lineup was an unjust difference-maker in their postseason.
“It’s not fair, but what are you going to do about it now?’’ said one Cub who didn’t want to comment on the record.
Said outfielder Reed Johnson, who was on that Cubs playoff team before spending last year with Manny and the Dodgers: “Yeah, you could always say that, but at the same time, this game’s hard enough to play as it is, whether or not you’re on whatever you’re on or you’re not on. You hate to take away what he’s done over his 19-year career. …’’
Johnson also wondered aloud about how many players in recent years might have had game-changing and season-changing performances for their teams because of steroids or other banned substances, but were low-profile enough to escape suspicion.
“It’s hard to really point the finger at those [high-profile] individuals just because the other guys didn’t get caught,’’ he said.
Russell gets call
Quade made it official: Lefty reliever James Russell will get the call to start Tuesday in Houston as the Cubs’ fill-in fifth starter in the wake of injuries to Randy Wells (forearm) and Andrew Cashner (shoulder).
But he will be on a 50-pitch limit that leaves the Cubs counting on three innings from him in what amounts to a bullpen day. If all goes well for him, Russell — who briefly was in the running for a starting job this spring — could stretch to a 70-pitch count a week later when the Cubs need a fifth starter again.
Right-hander Casey Coleman, the last pitcher cut in spring training, joins the team this weekend for a scheduled start Sunday in Milwaukee as the replacement fourth starter.
Righty Jeff Stevens was recalled from Class AAA Iowa to join what is an eight-man bullpen, at least until Russell is off the table for relief work starting Sunday.
◆ The Cubs officially put Wells and Cashner on the 15-day disabled list.
◆ Carlos Pena returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a jammed thumb on his glove hand.