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Cubs’ Aramis Ramirez admits hamstring giving him trouble

Updated: September 1, 2011 12:18AM

As much as critics like to bash him for a perceived lack of effort, Cubs third baseman and cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez rarely fires back — and even less often discloses when an injury is feeding the perception.

But Ramirez, who played aggressively in April, told the Sun-Times on Thursday that he’s been battling a tight left hamstring since early in the last homestand.

It’s why manager Mike Quade held back bench guy Blake DeWitt on Tuesday night when he used Carlos Zambrano to pinch-hit and why Ramirez got Thursday off on a 42-degree day.

‘‘It’s harder when you get older. It happens to everybody,’’ Ramirez, 33, said, ‘‘especially playing a lot of day games, and it doesn’t help when it’s cold and raining and 30 degrees every day.’’

He’s hitting .290 but has struggled with men in scoring position and hasn’t homered since the first week. But he says that has nothing to do with the hamstring, even if power usually starts with the lower body.

‘‘It does, but I don’t want to make excuses,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel good enough to drive the ball. I hit the ball on the line and hit the ball hard. I guess that’s a swing that I’ve got to find.’’

Gordon Wittenmyer

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