MESA, Ariz. – Whether or not Manny Ramirez really is a changed man, the Cubs believe he can be a difference-maker working with their talented young hitters.
The Cubs officially hired Ramirez as a hitting consultant on Tuesday, and it didn’t send the same shockwaves that went through the baseball world last Memorial Day weekend, when team president Theo Epstein hired the enigmatic slugger to be a player/coach at Triple-A Iowa.
Epstein took a leap of faith that Ramirez wouldn’t be the same guy who burned bridges out of Fenway Park and failed at least two drug tests. They had won two World Series together with the Boston Red Sox, but it got ugly by the time Ramirez forced a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2008 deadline.
Epstein felt Ramirez had done his penance, cooperating with Major League Baseball through two suspensions and finding religion after a domestic-violence charge in 2011.
Ramirez worked in Des Moines with Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant, giving his unique perspective after generating 555 home runs and a career .996 OPS while playing up the “Manny Being Manny” persona.
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