Manny Ramirez has been the ideal Round Rock Express teammate. Laughs and jokes with the guys. Asks for no special treatment. Brings no entourage. Tireless worker in the batting cage. Shares tips and advice with all who ask.
Manny cut his long locks, tailored his baggy uniform and ditched his daffy persona.
But none of that will help an aging hitter — even one with 555 major-league home runs and 1,831 RBI — catch up to Felix Hernandez’s fastball or Max Scherzer’s slider, calculate Hiroki Kuroda’s curveball or time Jered Weaver’s change-up.
“He’s fit right into the clubhouse and helped the guys on a daily basis,” Express batting coach Scott Coolbaugh said. “But I know the Rangers didn’t sign him for that.”
Ramirez is hitting .282 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 71 at-bats. But he hasn’t homered since July 14, and 16 of his 20 hits are singles.
“Manny’s diligently put in the work,” Coolbaugh said. “When you’re 41, though, the bat speed isn’t the same as when you’re in your 20s. You can be a smarter hitter, but you still have trouble catching up with the 92-94 mph fastball.
“I think he still can do it in the big leagues if you use him against most left-handers.”
Scouts polled at Dell Diamond cast a dim view, saying Ramirez’s bat is too slow and that he’s a singles hitter who can’t play the field. Ramirez has been the designated hitter in all 19 games for the Express.
Around the leagues
The Milwaukee Brewers recalled infielder Scooter Gennett from Triple-A Nashville. He served as the Brewers’ 26th man during Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs. In 17 games with Milwaukee, Gennett was hitting .214 with one home run and five runs batted-in. … The Chicago Cubs recalled right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Iowa. … Third baseman Cody Asche was called up by the Philadelphia Phillies. Asche, one of the team’s top prospects, was hitting .295 with 15 homers at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Outfielder Steve Susdorf was designated for assignment. … The Atlanta Braves placed reserve outfielder Reed Johnson on the 15-day disabled list with left heel tendinitis and purchased the contract of Todd Cunningham from Gwinnett.
Astros pull Norris from start
Houston Astros pitcher Bud Norris was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night amid speculation he could be traded before the non-waiver deadline.
Lucas Harrell replaced Norris as Houston’s starting pitcher against the Baltimore Orioles.
Berkman ponders future
Texas Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman expects to know soon whether he will play again or retire. Berkman, 37, has been on the disabled list since July 7 with left hip inflammation and missed his 20th game on Tuesday night.
There are also his surgically repaired knees. Berkman said Tuesday he planned to take batting practice for a couple of days to see how he feels.