Tampa Bay Rays struggling slugger Manny Ramirez was pulled from the team’s starting lineup Wednesday against the Angels, MLB.com reported.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he opted to give the 12-time All-Star a break because he believes Ramirez is trying too hard to produce in his first year as Tampa’s designated hitter.
"I know it’s early in the season, but I still think he’s pressing a bit," Maddon said. "I really think he’s trying to carry too much of this load right now. I want him to understand that I’m seeing that, that I think he’s trying way too hard. All I want him to do is his part, nobody else’s part, that we all can take care of ourselves here.
"I just believe he’s trying to shoulder too much of the burden right now, and I don’t want him to do that."
Ramirez, who Maddon said will also miss Thursday’s game in Chicago due to personal reasons, has just one hit in 16 at-bats this season. The 18-year veteran has consistently been one of the baseball’s best hitters with a .312 career average.
"With guys like him, I think we forget," Maddon said. "It’s not easy to be him sometimes. He’s not a potential Hall of Famer — he will be a Hall of Famer. He’s in the latter part of his career, so you’re going to have different kind of moments, mentally.
Ramirez, 38, ranks 14th in Major League history with 555 home runs. He has accumulated 2,574 hits and 1,831 RBIs during his remarkable career mostly with the Indians and Red Sox.
"I’ve been around players like that in the past, and I think at some point it takes a different understanding from whomever’s working with them," the Rays’ skipper added. "From me to him, I just want him to understand that I do know what he’s going through, and I want to help him out."