Ramirez’s power outage
Ramirez, who returns to the Southland with the White Sox, has had the production of a leadoff hitter
The ex-Dodger, back in the Southland on Friday, isn’t batting like he used to.
Parallels have developed between Manny Ramirez and former major leaguer Rudy Law.
Law played for the Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. The same is true now of Ramirez.
Law developed into a singles hitter. The same is true now of Ramirez.
One problem: Singles weren’t what the White Sox envisioned when they were willing to pay the remaining $3.8 million of Ramirez’s salary while being awarded his rights on a waiver claim from the Dodgers on Aug. 30.
Although Minnesota clearly overmatched the White Sox with a 45-19 run to clinch the American League
Central title, the White Sox were anticipating more power from Ramirez — who makes his return to Southern California on Friday night as Chicago visits the Angels.
“I was there before, yeah,” Ramirez replied when asked about his return to the Southland, albeit about 30 miles from Dodger Stadium.
Ramirez was suffering from flu symptoms that made him a late scratch from the lineup Wednesday, and he coughed and walked away after expressing his uncertainty about the reception he would receive from Southern California fans.
Those fans might include some who were captivated by his amazing 53-game streak in 2008 that vaulted the Dodgers to the postseason — after he batted .396 with 17 home runs and 53 runs batted in — and earned him a two-year, $45-million contract.
But Ramirez, 38, who is ninth on the all-time home run list with 587, has one extra-base hit — a home run — and one RBI in 55 at-bats since joining the White Sox. He hit 21 home runs in 456 at-bats with the Dodgers after serving a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s steroid policy in 2009.
On the flip side, Ramirez has a .431 on-base percentage since joining the White Sox.
But Chicago was seeking more power from him in the fifth spot instead of the production tailored more for a leadoff hitter.
“His bat speed is way down,” one National League scout who watched him over the last two seasons wrote in an e-mail last week. “He has not pulled a ball ‘hard’ for three months — and of course, the power has been non-existent!”
As a teammate, Ramirez has fit in well with the White Sox, particularly his fellow Latin players. He frequently arrives early for batting practice and conditioning.
“He’s one of those guys that goes to any team, and everyone is going to love him,” backup catcher Ramon Castro said. “The way he is, he keeps everyone loose. He helps people. He likes to work.
“So we’re going to go [to Southern California], and I know he’s going to get a lot of boos. But he’s used to that already. He’s a veteran guy and knows how to handle that situation.”
Castro thinks that finishing out the season with regular at-bats will only help Ramirez rebound next year — provided there’s a team that believes he can return to a semblance of his prolific production.
“He didn’t play this year the way a lot of people wanted him to play,” Castro said. “But that’s part of the game. At the same time, that’s going to happen. Hopefully if they sign him here next year, he comes back stronger and do what he always does.”
HE’S BACK: Manny Ramirez has one extra-base hit and one run batted in since joining the White Sox.
STRIKING PERFORMANCE: Chicago designated hitter Manny Ramirez reacts after striking out against Minnesota.