Manny Ramirez's 50-game drug suspension ends Wednesday, but he may not join Oakland in time to play the Twins at Target Field. Wednesday also happens to be Ramirez' 40th birthday.
You'll remember that Ramirez chose to retire last season rather than appeal a 100-game suspension for a second positive drug test. When he decided to return, the suspension was cut to 50 games, and he has been playing recently with the A's Class AAA team at Bakersfield.
But Ramirez has a sore wrist and, after making plans for him to return against the Twins, Oakland manager Bob Melvin said things are up in the air about when Ramirez will return to the majors.
"We want to get him close to 40 at-bats,'' Melvin said. "We are not locked in to the 30th. We want to make sure he's productive.''
Read more about Ramirez' return in this story from USA Today.
Also, the version of Ramirez that returns to the majors will apparently be infused with Christianity.
Reid Forgrave of FOX Sports visited with Ramirez when he was playing a minor-league game against Texas, where Ramirez said: “I was looking in the mirror. I said to myself, ‘I need to change. I want to be different.’ It’s hard to be a Christian. When God comes inside your heart, you don’t do things that you used to do. I just want to be different. It feels great, when you don’t do what you used to do.”
Forgrave wonders in his story about Manny's authenticity when he writes: "This may truly be a new Manny, or this may just be some inauthentic process he’s forced to go through. There’s no way of knowing, and for many baseball fans, twice-busted Manny doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. All we really know is that, after two drug suspensions and a tarnished legacy, this shot at redemption will be his last."
To read the entire story, click here.