The Chicago Cubs continue to be considered the central branch of the Boston Red Sox.
Cubs president Theo Epstein announced Tuesday former Red Sox hitting stars Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis will serve as special hitting consultants for the team this season.
Epstein said Ramirez, 42, will work with major and minor league hitters. He worked with minor league hitters at Triple A Iowa last season and drew rave reviews.
Youkilis will scout amateur players in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, assist with hitters on the Cubs’ minor league teams in that area and show up to Wrigley about once a month to work with hitters. Youkilis, 35, retired after an injury-filled season in Japan.
Ramirez, who has not officially retired as a hitter and still would love to hook with a team, played in the Dominican this winter. He’s a two-time offender of the steroid policy, but has changed his life around. He is now a very religious person who has fessed up to all of his past mistakes and had tried to make amends.
When in Boston last year, he apologized to Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick after a shoving incident. Ramirez was a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer before his suspensions.
In 19 seasons, he’s hit .312 with a .411 a .996 OPS.
“Manny got rave reviews from everyone he worked with,” Epstein told reporters at the team’s Mesa, Ariz. training facility on Tuesday. “He did a great job of fitting in, sharing his wisdom and experience and being a good influence. He was very open and honest with guys on what not to do from his past and lessons that he learned along the way.”
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