Ramirez's redemption tour starts anew


Ramirez's redemption tour starts anew

Manny Ramirez said he wanted to wear No. 7 as an Oakland Athletic, but that was taken, by Adam Rosales. So he took No. 1 instead, which was also taken, by club factotum Phil Garner.I guess we know where Rosales, Ramirez and Garner stand in juxtaposition then. Beyond that, we are taking Ramirez at his word that he wanted to come back to the game with more dignity than he left last year, that he found God through a difficult time with his family last fall, and that his sixth new start will be an enduring one.Im thankful I have a job, he said with a laugh. God said he would open a door for me, and he did.Gods position on the Oakland As has always been under some question, but if Ramirez said his family and faith are what drove him to play one more year, and to make one last stab at redemption, well, that will have to be the story until proven conclusively either way.

Ramirez signed a pro-rated 500,000 contract with the As for what ostensibly will be the final 112 games of the season. He must first sit out a 50-game drug suspension, presumably in an extended spring session and then a 10-game minor league rehab. Upon arriving in Oakland, as he is expected to do at the end of May, he will take on what may well be the last leg of his full rehabilitation.A rehabilitation, he knows, that will not sit well with everyone.I know people are going to say things, he said, but I think every problem, when it happens, it has to happen. You have to reflect on your life, and I didnt want it (the baseball career) to end that way.That way was the shame of Tampa, where he signed with the Rays only to quit in advance of the positive drugs test and essentially miss the entire season. He looked as done as done can be, because nobody would take a chance on a 39-year-hitter with his on- and off-field resumes.Except that done is a very flexible concept in baseball, especially in Oakland. Billy Beane found the right vehicle at the very right price, and offered in exchange a way for Ramirez to try and salvage some of the reputation that has both enriched and endangered him.Indeed, 2011 was about as bad as it could have been for him, between the baseball meltdown and domestic violence charges last September, which presumably caused Ramirez and his wife Juliana to reassess the direction of his life.It apparently took, as she and their sons, Manny Jr. and Lucas, joined him at his impromptu presser.Indeed, while he talked with reporters, Juliana threw batting practice to the boys. Apparently Garner, still stung by the appropriation of his number, was not available.We kid. Pretty much.Of course, with Ramirez, the danger of taking anything at face value is ever present, but there is currently no indication that he views his Oakland year as anything other than that last crack at redemption. It may be too late for too many people, but its what is available to him, and he has chosen not to look a gift door opened by God to Papago Park in the mouth.And if he is bitter about the turn his life took last year, he certainly betrayed none of it, even when asked about Milwaukees Ryan Braun, whose appeal of a drugs suspension was upheld Thursday by an arbitrator.Thats good for him, Ramirez said of Braun, who held his presser to a larger crowd in Maryvale than the one Ramirez entertained in Phoenix. Now he has a chance to clear his name, and that happened for a reason. We are all men, and we make mistakes. Im happy for him because hes a great guy, and a great ballplayer. Im sure his family went through a lot, and Im happy he is clean.And somewhere he hopes someone is saying that about him. If not now, then eventually. If not in Oakland, then maybe a seventh team. Doors always seem to swing open when someone can pick up a bat and hit balls over the center field wall.

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox


CHICAGO -- The Oakland Athletics got a glimpse of their future on a day when the Chicago White Sox paid tribute to their past.

Matt Olson hit his first two major league home runs, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto also launched their first career shots and the A's routed the White Sox 10-2 on Saturday.

Barreto homered in his big league debut. He joined Olson and Brugman in becoming the second trio of teammates to hit their first homers in the same game, the Elias Sports Bureau said. It also happened in 1914 with the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League - the rival circuit lasted a couple of seasons, and included many big leaguers.

"They said something about it was the first time it has happened in a while. It's awesome to be able to share that moment with guys that I already built relationships with," said Olson, who played with Brugman and Barreto in the minors.

Former White Sox ace Mark Buehrle had his No. 56 jersey retired in a pregame ceremony. After the 30-minute tribute ended, the A's roughed up James Shields (1-1).

Daniel Gossett (1-2) took advantage of an early 6-0 lead for his first win in the big league. He gave up two unearned runs in six innings.

"It was a special experience for everyone. To get out of there with my first win was just the icing on the cake. It was an awesome experience to be a part of and I'm glad I was here," Gossett said.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected for the second straight game. He threw his hat to the ground and was tossed, right after third baseman Todd Frazier was ejected for showing his displeasure over a replay review that wasn't reversed.

"I thought it was quick," Frazier said. "I said some things that were borderline, I guess. But at the same time, it's just frustrating, man. You can't get the call right in New York as well, and they've got every different angle. They can zoom in as close as possible, and to think that they cannot make that call is just frustrating with the technology we have today. It's just crazy. It boggles your mind. It really does."

After a leadoff walk in the first, Olson homered to right. He added a two-run homer in the seventh. He was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday and is in fourth stint with the club.

Brugman hit a solo drive in the second. Barreto had a two-run homer in the third.

Barreto, a top prospect in the Oakland organization, was called up after shortstop Chad Pinder injured his hamstring Friday night and was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Barreto was a late addition to the lineup at second base when Jed Lowrie couldn't play after a mild knee injury he sustained Friday night. The newcomer went 2 for 5 and scored twice.

"Of anybody, you're not surprised. We've seen him hit homers in his first spring training at-bats, so not a total shock. But I think everybody kind of looked around and said, `Wow, I can't remember that ever happening before,'" A's manager Bob Melvin.

Shields gave up six runs on seven hits in three-plus innings. He allowed three home runs in his second start since a two-month DL stint.

Buehrle's number was stenciled onto the dirt behind second base. He went 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA in 390 appearances for Chicago from 2000-11. The lefty pitched two no-hitters for the White Sox, including a perfect game, and helped them win the 2005 World Series.

White Sox: All signs are pointing to LHP Carlos Rodon making his season debut sometime next week. Rodon, who has been out with a biceps bursitis injury, pitched Friday night for Triple-A Charlotte. Renteria was satisfied with the reports after his fourth rehab start.

"Another start last night. He went 4 1-3, 93 pitches. Actually, in talking to everybody, he threw pretty well. Had a couple miscues in the field that were probably limited his outing. He felt good, pain-free, we're very happy with that. According to the reports, the slider was working very well. He's on track to come on back," Renteria said.

Gossett said the Oakland hitters made it easy for him in his third major league start.

"To see guys I've played with a little bit last year and this year, to see Barreto get his first hit and other guys get their first home runs, it's really special for them and I'm glad I was part of it," he said.

With wins Friday and Saturday, the A's snapped a streak of losing nine consecutive road series.

Despite the rough start, Shield reached 2,000th career strikeouts.

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (2-3) is scheduled to start Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA over his last five starts.

White Sox: LHP Derek Holland (5-7) is 1-4 with a 9.55 ERA and nine home runs allowed over his last five starts.

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Friday night was a bad night for a couple of former A's players.

After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Rangers, first baseman Chris Carter was designated for assignment by the Yankees.

New York called up first base prospect Tyler Austin.

In 57 games with the Yankees, Carter his eight homers and drove in 23 runs, but he his just .204 with 70 strikeouts.

Derek Norris, an All-Star with the A's in 2014, was designated for assignment by the Rays after they activated offseason acquisition Wilson Ramos from the 60-day DL.

Norris clubbed nine homers and drove in 24 runs, but hit .201 in 53 games with the Tampa Bay.