Person familiar with situation: Manny Ramirez expected to join White Sox on Monday

By Jay Cohen, AP
Sunday, August 29, 2010

AP source: Ramirez expected to join White Sox

CHICAGO — Manny Ramirez helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004 and 2007. He powered the Los Angeles Dodgers to the NL West title two years ago with a stellar run at the plate.

The Chicago White Sox are hoping he has one more playoff push left.

Ramirez is expected to join the White Sox on Monday, giving the fading playoff contenders a big boost during a key 10-game road trip.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday night that Chicago was close to acquiring the slugger from L.A. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were still being worked out, expected the deal to be completed on Monday, but whether it’s a trade or waiver claim was still to be determined.

The White Sox are hoping Ramirez will be energized by a change of scenery and can give them a lift similar to the one he provided when he was acquired by the Dodgers in 2008. Los Angeles got Ramirez in a deadline deal that season, and he hit .396 with 17 homers in 53 games to lead the club to the postseason.

But that was two years ago, and the 38-year-old Ramirez has been hampered by right leg injuries this season. The outfielder is batting .311 with eight homers and 40 RBIs in 66 games in 2010.

White Sox general manager Kenny Williams declined comment in an e-mail to the AP. The AP also e-mailed Dodgers GM Ned Colletti seeking comment.

Ramirez’s salary is $20 million in the final season of a two-year contract, but only $5 million is due this year, with the rest to be paid over the next three years. He also has a full no-trade clause.

The White Sox were awarded a waiver claim on Ramirez last week, giving them until 1:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday to complete a trade with the Dodgers. Or Los Angeles could let him go and the White Sox would simply assume his salary.

Those details were still being worked out, with Chicago likely trying for a trade that would include cash to offset part of Ramirez’s salary.

The White Sox (70-60) have lost nine of 14 and 13 of 20 to fall 4½ games back of AL Central-leading Minnesota with three games left in the season series between the teams. Interestingly enough, the first two stops on their 10-game trip are Cleveland and Boston, two of Ramirez’s former clubs.

“We know what time it is,” second baseman Gordon Beckham said after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees. “September is around the corner and we have to make a push.”

Ramirez likely would become the designated hitter in Chicago, especially considering his recent fragile history. He returned Aug. 21 from his third stint on the DL this year.

The 12-time All-Star became a fan favorite when he arrived in Los Angeles, with a section of seats named in his honor at Chavez Ravine and wigs that mimicked his dreadlocks suddenly becoming fashionable. Ramirez performed so well down the stretch during his first season in Los Angeles that the Dodgers signed him to a two-year, $45 million contract.

The injuries and last season’s 50-game suspension following a failed drug test soured his stay, and Ramirez hasn’t spoken to reporters since spring training, when he said this would be his final season in L.A.

The Dodgers (67-64) could have kept Ramirez to bolster their chances of making the postseason. They won four straight last week to move closer to a playoff spot, then lost consecutive games at Colorado over the weekend to slip back.

Los Angeles is fourth in the NL West, 10 games back of first-place San Diego, and trails wild card-leading Philadelphia by 6½ games.

Ramirez, who hasn’t started a game since Wednesday at Milwaukee, entered Sunday’s 10-5 loss as a pinch hitter and was ejected after arguing a called strike on the only pitch he saw.

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