Soriano wonders what Manny was thinking

Soriano wonders what Manny was thinking

Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 9:01 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

MILWAUKEE Alfonso Soriano once had a tryout with the Indians, at a time when Manny Ramirez was just starting to build his legacy in Cleveland. The young Soriano looked at Ramirez and thought: Man, I want to be like him one day.

It all came to an end Friday, when Major League Baseball announced that Ramirez has decided to retire, instead of dealing with a reported 100-game suspension for a second positive test for a banned substance.

What he did surprised me, Soriano said. There are a lot of players (using that) I never think would. Its very sad (when) an All-Star guy maybe future Hall of Famer does that. Its sad for the game, its sad for the player.

The 38-year-old Ramirez can forget about his place in Cooperstown, even with 555 career home runs and MVP votes in 11 different seasons. The questions are why such a gifted hitter would need extra help, and how a player who has made more than 200 million in his career could risk his reputation again after the first positive test.

Everybody has their talent to play this game, Soriano said. I dont know why people want to use something (else). Its what you got thats it. Just play (as) who you are, what God gave to you.

The Cubs havent forgotten that Ramirez crushed them in the 2008 playoffs, leading the Dodgers to a three-game sweep. Ramirez went 5-for-10 with two homers and four walks during that series and became a star in Hollywood.

But that player has faded away. Ramirez was reduced to a singles hitter late last season for the White Sox, and opened this season at 1-for-17 with Tampa Bay.

Soriano knows Ramirez mostly through chatting before games when they were part of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, and doesnt hang out with him during the offseason in the Dominican Republic. Like everyone else, hes left guessing.

I dont understand why he did it, Soriano said. Hes got so much talent I dont think he needs it.

Reinforcements

The Cubs had eight arms ready in the bullpen on Friday night and theyll need all the help they can get now that Andrew Cashner (rotator cuff strain) and Randy Wells (forearm strain) are officially on the disabled list.

The Cubs recalled right-handed reliever Jeff Stevens from Triple-A Iowa on Friday and manager Mike Quade confirmed that Casey Coleman will start Sunday against the Brewers. Theyll have to piece it together on Tuesday in Houston.

It starts with James Russell, who will throw somewhere in the range of three innings and 45 pitches before turning the game over to whoevers available out of the bullpen. Someone else will have to build the bridge to Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol.

The manager isnt going to ask for more from Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano, or worry about the front of the rotation trying to do too much.

Theyve been down this road before, Quade said. Every rotation in the history of baseball (has) gotten into some trouble at some point. (Despite losing) two starters, they know whos behind them bullpen-wise. Its got to be pretty comforting to be a starter here and knowing what kind of bullpen we have.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Preview: Cubs-Marlins Thursday on CSN

Preview: Cubs-Marlins Thursday on CSN

The Cubs take on the Miami Marlins on Thursday night, and you can catch all the action on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage from South Florida begins with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Starting pitching matchup: Jake Arrieta (6-5, 4.64 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke (0-2, 4.58 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the Cubs: All of the most recent news and notes.

Cubs sign first-round pick Brendon Little to $2.2 million deal

Cubs sign first-round pick Brendon Little to $2.2 million deal

In their never-ending arms race, the Cubs have agreed to a $2.2 million bonus with first-round pick Brendon Little, part of a wave of signings that should be finalized soon.

A team source confirmed the slightly below-slot ($2.3733 million) deal reported Wednesday by Jim Callis, MLB.com’s prospects guru. The Cubs are betting on Little’s age-20 potential, left-handed look, mid-90s fastball and what they perceive to be one of the best curveballs in this year’s draft. 

Little threw only four innings as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, opened eyes in the Cape Cod League and then decided to go the junior-college route. It paid off this season at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, where Little averaged 14.03 strikeouts per nine innings as a sophomore, putting up a 2.53 ERA in 15 starts while walking only 33 batters in 85-plus innings.

Alex Lange – the other headliner from this draft class selected three spots after Little at No. 30 – has been occupied pitching for Louisiana State University in the College World Series.