Manny Ramirez is back!
One year after serving as a player/coach in Des Moines for Iowa , the Cubs announced on Tuesday that they'd hired the former Red Sox all-star as a hitting consultant. Ramirez will work with the club’s major and minor league hitters on the fundamental and mental aspects of hitting. According to Club President Theo Epstein, Ramirez will be in Wrigley once a month to help big league hitters.
“This is a pretty substantial role,” Epstein told reporters in Mesa of his duties. “He’s going to going spend most of spring training here and will spend time visiting Chicago, and possibly Des Moines working with select young hitters.” Epstein said Ramirez was expected in camp on Wednesday.
“Manny got rave reviews from everybody he worked with, from the hitters he helped influence to the coaches he spent a lot of time around,” Epstein said. “He did a great job of fitting in and sharing his wisdom and experience, and being a good influence. He was a huge asset and we were hopeful about the possibilities of bringing him back.”
Epstein said Ramirez is not formally retired but from end of last season right up to this month, had expressed an interest in working with the Cubs’ young hitters. Cubs manager Joe Maddon is no stranger to Ramirez as the two were briefly together in Tampa in 2011. The Cubs skipper said Manny was “fun to be around”.
Ramirez had a huge influence on many Cubs players last year as he spent time in Arizona prior to joining Iowa and worked with several youngsters who were playing for Mesa including Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, Charcer Burks and Kevonte Mitchell. It was also in Mesa that he formed a bond with Jorge Soler, and that relationship continued when Soler was promoted from Tennessee to Iowa.
While in Iowa, Ramirez worked with Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara before the pair was eventually promoted to the big leagues. Ramirez, who was attempting a comeback last season, hit .222/.273/.375 in 24 games for Iowa with 3 HR and 10 RBI in 72 at-bats. The 42-year-old played winter ball in the Dominican Republic for Aguilas and was 4th in the league in hitting, with a .313/.409/.510 slash in 41 games with 6 HR and 28 RBI. He was second in the DWL with 75 total bases. Ramirez played 19 seasons in the majors with a .312/.411/.585 career slash line, spending lost of his career with Cleveland (1993-2000) and Boston (2001-08)
Ramirez wasn’t the only former Red Sox to join the Cubs on Tuesday as the North Siders announced Kevin Youkilis will assist the front-office as a part-time scout and player development consultant. The former 11-year MLB vet who won two world titles with Boston, will scout amateur and professional hitters in northern California and will with work with hitters in the minor league system. He’s currently in the field scouting players for the Cubs in preparation for the June draft.