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Ramirez to join Iowa Cubs next week

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 20 2014 04:03:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 20 2014 04:12:53 PM CDT
Manny Ramirez 2011 Tampa Bay Rays

Brian Blanco/Reuters

Manny Ramirez is expected to join the Chicago Cubs' Triple-A Iowa affiliate next week.

Ramirez will begin his stint as a player/coach to help develop some of the Cubs' hitting prospects. He was hired in late May and has spent the past few weeks at the club's spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz.

"Manny has been doing a great job in Mesa," president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said, according to ESPNChicago.com. "He's the first one to the ballpark every day, he's been meeting with the young kids daily. Talking about hitting, talking about some of the mistakes he made off the field, really keeping them focused on working hard. I've gotten unsolicited emails and texts from a lot of our staff down there saying he's been a breath of fresh air. The best thing to happen to the kids down in Mesa. I'm really pleased with the impact he's making on the organization."

Ramirez will work with third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Javier Baez, among other highly-touted prospects in the Cubs' organization.

Bryant was recently promoted to Iowa after performing well against Double-A pitchers. However, Baez has struggled in Triple-A. They are both first-round draft picks.

"We have some exciting, young offensive prospects," Epstein said. "Manny knows as much about hitting as anybody and I think he can enhance the hitting instruction we have in the minor leagues. Manny is one of the calmest right-handed hitters I've seen in the box, so if he can help teach that calmness to just one player in our system it'll be worth it."

Epstein has said that Ramirez does not fit in with the club's major-league plans, but said he will be patient in working Ramirez into its minor-league affiliate.

"We're not in a rush because he's making an impact with our young kids down there," Epstein said.

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