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News » Phillies Notes: Ramirez news saddens Phillies' Manuel

Phillies Notes: Ramirez news saddens Phillies' Manuel

Phillies Notes: Ramirez news saddens Phillies' Manuel
NEW YORK - Long before he was Manny Being Manny or suspended for using a performance-enhancing substance, Manny Ramirez was a 21-year-old minor-leaguer in the Cleveland Indians system, and Charlie Manuel was his triple-A manager.

The two haven't been colleagues since Ramirez signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox before the 2001 season, but they have remained close. Yesterday, the Phillies' manager said he was disappointed to hear that Ramirez had been suspended 50 games for violating Baseball's drug policy. "It's sad," he said. "I don't know what to say. . . . I don't know the extent of it."

Manuel admitted that, after several years of revelations about players taking steroids and other illegal drugs, he could no longer assume a player was clean at any point in his career. "When he was young, I don't think he was doing them, but again, I don't know," he said. "Anybody that played in a certain period of time, there's a possibility that their name might come up."

Manuel counts himself among those who would like to see competitive integrity restored to the game. "I think the game should be played on a level field, honestly," he said. "You earn things by natural ability. . . . I'd like to see Baseball be cleaned up. I'd like to see Baseball get through it and move on."

Pinch-hitting slugger Matt Stairs took a somewhat different stance, saying that in his view Ramirez's accomplishments were not tainted by drug revelations. "Not a bit," he said. "Are you going to take some average Joe out of the stands and give him steroids and say, there's a Hall of Famer?"

Hamels starts tonight Cole Hamels remains on track to make his first start tonight since suffering a mild sprain of his left ankle April 28.

"He's fine," Manuel said. Neither Manuel nor pitching coach Rich Dubee specified Hamels' projected pitch count, but both said it was possible that the lefthander could throw 70 to 90 pitches or more, depending on the results of the game.

"We'll see how he's going," Dubee said. Hamels will wear a light wrap around the ankle for several starts. He said it has prevented him from feeling any pain while throwing in the bullpen or participating in fielding drills.

Bruntlett's role When Manuel saw an opportunity to win Wednesday's game against the New York Mets with two out and a runner on second in the eighth inning, he called on Eric Bruntlett to pinch-hit against lefthander Johan Santana . Bruntlett struck out and the Phillies ultimately lost, 1-0.

Much was made during spring training about the Phils' lack of righthanded power off the bench, and Wednesday's game provided an example. Because the team did not acquire a veteran like Nomar Garciaparra or Gary Sheffield, Bruntlett became the top righty option.

The versatile Bruntlett has proven himself a capable pinch-hitter, batting .289 with no home runs in that role in 81 career at-bats. But he admitted that the job is a difficult one, and that he is hardly a home-run threat.

"I'm still working on it," said Bruntlett, who spends the middle innings of most games in the batting cage and looking at video. "It is what it is. If I'm not comfortable, I'll tell myself I'm comfortable."

"If you look down at the end of the season last year, he got some big pinch-hits for us," said Manuel. "Pinch-hitting is a real tough job, and when you send him up against Santana, that's asking a lot."

Extra bases After facing the Mets three times this season, Manuel was impressed by the team's relief corps, remade after an abysmal 2008. "They've got a different bullpen, and they've got a different style bullpen," he said. "They've got a power bullpen." . . . Shane Victorino extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games.

Contact staff writer Andy Martino at 215-854-4874 or

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 8, 2009

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