The A's are on the verge of adding one of the greatest hitters of all time to their lineup.*
*OK, OK, he's 40. What else would you expect from the A's? Look for Bryce Harper to sign here in 20 years.
Manny Ramirez, who signed a $500,000 contract in the offseason, will come off his 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs on May 30, vs. the Twins. Billy Beane told a radio show that Ramirez will likely join the AAA Sacramento RiverCats after May 15 and play there for a couple weeks.
"We want him to get the best competition he can get before we decide to activate him," Beane said. "That's come up quick. He's spent a lot of time down at Arizona, I'm sure he's probably getting a little stir-crazy but we are anxious to have him go out and at least play in these minor league games and see if he can pick up where he left off in spring."
The Athletics take on the Tigers tonight at 5:05 p.m. Brandon McCarthy opposes Doug Fister. After the game, fans will watch "The Sandlot." Tomorrow, the A's face the MLB version of The Beast — Justin Verlander.
But what effect could Manny have? He hasn't had a worthwhile season since 2009, and he's not getting any younger.
It depends on which Manny arrives. If he becomes a mentor of sorts and can still hit the ball, it'll be a plus. But if it's "Manny being Manny" who shows up and his talent has waned, he'll be a huge distraction -- a negative force for a team that's playing better than most thought it would.
When Ramirez arrived at the A's camp in February, he expressed remorse, saying: "I made some mistakes and want to show my children I can correct them."
Those who know him well believe if he's determined to prove he can still play at the level he established during his 19 seasons, he'll help the A's. If he struggles as he did in 2011 or his unpredictable personality surfaces, his tenure in Oakland will be short-lived.
So far, at least in Spring Training, the fit was good.
"He was terrific," said Melvin. "He was the guy who actually led by example. He was one of the first ones in the cage in the morning and one of the last ones to leave. He knows where he is in his career and the affect he can have on young teams, teams such as ours. He's all for it.
"He seems excited about this role, to teach some of these guys what he can do. You saw what he did with Matt Kemp when he was with the Dodgers. He's got a lot to offer on the hitting end. No doubt about it."