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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez calls return to baseball ‘blessing’ after going 0-for-4 in minor league debut for Cubs 06.27.14 at 7:37 am ET
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MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
MLB: Rays at Orioles, Game 1, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Nationals at Cubs, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Rays at Orioles, Game 2, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Draft, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Track and field: U.S. Outdoor Championships, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)


Manny Ramirez made his debut as player/coach for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on Thursday, playing left field in the second game of a doubleheader on the road against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Wearing No. 44 and batting sixth, the former Red Sox star went 0-for-4, reaching base on an error in his first at-bat before striking out twice and lining out in a 7-6 loss.

“They just made good pitches,” Ramirez told “But it’s been such a long time since I faced a pitcher, so it felt great.”

Said Ramirez: “It feels great just to be here … and to help the young guys [by] just telling them my experiences and the things that I’ve went through. It’s a blessing just to be here.”

It was Ramirez’s first professional game since playing in Triple-A for the Rangers last summer. He’s expected to play 1-2 times per week and possibly make additional appearances as a pinch-hitter.

“He’s a coach first and a player second,” Iowa manager Marty Pevey said. “He’s here to help our young players make the transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues and to show them how hard he works, how well he works, which he does an unbelievable job.”

Ramirez has 555 home runs in 19 major league seasons, but he also has a legacy of odd and offensive behavior. However, he claims he’s learned from his mistakes after finding religion, and apparently Cubs president Theo Epstein believes him. Epstein made it clear that Ramirez’s job is to mentor the organization’s top prospects, and the 42-year-old will not be called up to the majors, although Ramirez doesn’t sound convinced of that.

“As long as I’m here and I keep working, you never know what could happen,” Ramirez said. “I think God has a reason for me to be here. … He opened the door and I’m just here.”

— NBA commissioner Adam Silver already won over many players and fans when he banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and on Thursday night he made another positive statement by honoring Baylor center Isaiah Austin at the NBA draft.

Austin, the 20-year-old who had to give up basketball after recently being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, was “drafted” by the NBA and had the chance to walk up on the stage like the other selections. It was an emotional moment for Austin and those watching.

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Read More: Adam Silver, Isaiah Austin, Manny Ramirez, Tony Gwynn