For starters, Rays vs Angels, w/ Manny scratched
Update 11:42 a.m. Manager Joe Maddon intially had DH Manny Ramirez in the lineup, but said he wanted to give him a break because he feels the veteran slugger is pressing, and trying to do too much for the struggling offense.
Turns out, Ramirez will have a two-day break, as Maddon said he will also miss Thursday's series opener in Chicago as he has to tend to a "personal matter" linked to the one he had a few weeks ago when he missed the Rays final exhibition game. Ramirez said then he was in South Florida taking care of something with his children. Maddon said Ramirez will be back Friday for the night game against the White Sox.
Ramirez is 1-for-16, and struck out three times in Tuesday's loss. Though Ramirez doesn't feel he's pressing, he acknowledged he's swinging at "bad pitches." Maddon said he had a conversation with Ramirez before deciding to sit him today.
"I believe he's trying to shoulder too much of the burden right now, and I don't want him to do that," Maddon said. "I re-emphasized all the things that I expect out of him and everybody else and I just want to back off a little bit right now. I think I'm seeing he's trying to be too much right now."
Earlier this morning, Ramirez was in good spirits, saying he believes there's "plenty of time" for him to produce at the plate. When a reporter asked him if he's pressing because he's trying to make a good impression with his new team, Manny chuckled;
"I don't need to impress anybody," he said, smiling. "I've got almost 600 home runs."
Developing: The Rays, off to an 0-4 start, will finish their five game homestand with a matinee today against the Angels.
DH Manny Ramirez, who heard boos from Rays fans last night after going 0-4 with three Ks, took it in stride, saying it wasn't the first time he struck out three times.
"It's all good," he said. "That's everywhere."
Ramirez was in the Rays original lineup as DH, but was scratched w a new lineup card up and Johnny Damon at DH.
Manager Joe Maddon has said Ramirez is trying too hard, and could be giving him a day off, or it could be to get Damon off his feet in a day game after a night game.
We'll see when Maddon talks shortly.
-- JOE SMITH, Times Staff Writer