The speculation remains heavy that Manny Ramirez will sign with the A’s sometime soon. I can tell you Ramirez’s representatives are being very tight-lipped, as are the A’s, who don’t discuss their free agent pursuits publicly. But there’s nothing that suggests to me that a deal won’t eventually happen. There simply aren’t many alternatives for Ramirez. Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette told reporters Friday that he doesn’t see Ramirez as a fit, and talks between Ramirez and the Blue Jays (another team with some interest) reportedly didn’t go very far. That leaves the A’s, who have several in-house DH candidates they can evaluate while Ramirez serves his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy.
Speaking of that, here’s some details passed along by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on what Ramirez can do baseball-wise during his suspension:
–Ramirez can play in spring training games and extended spring training games.
–Once the regular season begins, he can work out with either major or minor league teams, but he must leave before the gates open for fans to enter the stadium.
–As his suspension nears its end, Ramirez can participate in a 10-game minor league rehab assignment.
**A note for those planning to attend A’s spring camp. Unlike the past two years, all workouts leading up to Cactus League games will take place at Papago Park Baseball Complex, just a five-minute drive from Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Papago serves as the A’s year-round minor league headquarters. It doesn’t have the charm of a regular ballpark, but there are four diamonds clustered together, and fans can get up-close views on any of the fields as players bounce from diamond to diamond for different drills. The first pitchers-and-catchers workout will be Sunday, probably starting around 9 a.m. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 25.