Sit Down Juan Pierre, Manny's Back

Jabber HeadSenior Analyst IJuly 3, 2009

All you folks who have been hanging on for dear life to Manny Ramirez, waiting patiently for his return to your fantasy roster while the rest of your outfield pretty much sucked... You can breathe easy once again.

Those 50 games he was forced to sit out after testing positive for stupidity are finally over, as he’ll be back in the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup Friday against Chad Gaudin and the San Diego Padres.

Manny is batting a career .455 (5-for-11) against the right-hander, with two homers, three RBI and two walks. Not bad.

The Dodgers didn’t miss a beat with Ramirez away, though, and their 50-29 record shows it. In fact, they managed to go 29-21 in his absence. The defending NL West champs got off to a hot 21-8 start to the season and were enjoying a seven-game winning streak with a 6.5-game division lead when the troubled slugger was busted.

Then, they lost four of their next five games before going on a 12-3 run to spike their division lead to a season-best 9.5 games in the first week of June. They’ve since cooled off, playing a little better than .500 baseball since then (13-11) but still have a six-game choke-hold over the San Francisco Giants.

LA played its final game without him on Wednesday, beating the Colorado Rockies, 1-0. They haven’t exactly been smashing the ball all over town recently either, having scored only eight runs over their last five games, but they’re getting the job done. And really, Manny is only going to add to their production.

Before he violated MLB’s drug policy by shadily ingesting female fertility drugs, Ramirez was batting .348 with six bombs and 20 RBI. That means your fantasy team has possibly missed out on an extra 15 longballs and 40 runs batted in, give or take a few crappy games, unless you had a good substitute.

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Like Juan Pierre, for instance.

The guy has come to work every single game in left field since ManRam took a hike. Now, he has to go back to being a part-time bench warmer, despite hitting .318 with 21 RBI, 31 runs scored, 15 walks, and 21 stolen bases in that time.

No, he hasn’t hit any homers, but he gets on base (and then snags them) and is a nice left-handed bat to have in the lineup. And don’t even get me started on that 1.000 fielding percentage and 98 put-outs from left.

If you ask me, the Dodgers, or anyone with a slightest grasp on the game of baseball, he has a ton to do with the position the club is in right now. That position, considering they’re the first team to 50 victories, is the very top—the best in baseball, by a slim margin.

But that, as my Grandmother would say, is life in the big city. Thanks for your hard work, Pierre. See you next time Manny does something brilliant.

(To all you Juan Pierre fantasy owners? I’d hang onto him if you have room, just in case Manny does manage to screw up again.)

Sooze is a Sports Jabber Contributor. Read more of her works at Babes Love Baseball

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