Manny Ramirez is finally ready to make his long-awaited 2014 debut. The former Red Sox mashing machine has been activated and will suit up on Thursday for the triple-A Iowa Cubs as they play a doubleheader.
Manny signed with the Cubs May 25 to take on the dual role of player-coach with their Iowa affiliate but has been on extended spring training in Arizona ever since then. Manny is now healthy and will report to the Iowa team as they visit Colorado Springs.
Cubs president Theo Epstein talked about the thinking behind his Manny player-coach concept (via CSNChicago):
The more I thought about it the more I realized that as long as Manny’s intentions were pure, and that he’s coming at this from the right place – and I believe he is – then the player/coach setup could possibly work. Because he’s only going to be playing once a week, twice a week at the most.
From his side, Manny is hoping to get back his good name after being forced out of the game by a pair of PED suspensions. Ramirez was a great hitter in the major leagues but he is more remembered today for the PED problems and for his famed “Manny being Manny” antics.
Now Manny wants to be Mentor Manny. We’ll see how that works out for him.