When discussing Aramis Ramirez, the common criticism that is associated with Ramirez is lack of effort. Dating back to the Dusty Baker days Ramirez has constantly been considered to be lazy on the field, and lack the motivation that the fans desire from a player as significant as Ramirez. After showing a complete lack of power this season and having a handful of games off, fans are once again getting restless over Ramirez’s apparent lack of effort. But is it lack of effort, or is Ramirez playing hurt?
In a rare admition, Ramirez confronted the critics that suggest he lacks effort when on the playing field. Ramirez told the Chicago Sun Times on Thursdaythat he has been dealing with a tight hamstring dating back to the last homestand for the Cubs.
"But Ramirez, who played aggressively in April, told the Sun-Times on Thursday that he’s been battling a tight left hamstring since early in the last homestand.It’s why manager Mike Quade held back bench guy Blake DeWitt on Tuesday night when he used Carlos Zambrano to pinch-hit and why Ramirez got Thursday off on a 42-degree day.‘‘It’s harder when you get older. It happens to everybody,’’ Ramirez, 33, said, ‘‘especially playing a lot of day games, and it doesn’t help when it’s cold and raining and 30 degrees every day.’’He’s hitting .290 but has struggled with men in scoring position and hasn’t homered since the first week. But he says that has nothing to do with the hamstring, even if power usually starts with the lower body.‘‘It does, but I don’t want to make excuses,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel good enough to drive the ball. I hit the ball on the line and hit the ball hard. I guess that’s a swing that I’ve got to find.’’"
News of tight hamstring for Ramirez should not be too surprising. Over the past couple of weeks, it has been evident that Ramirez was struggling with some type of injury. But the question remains how much is the tight hamstring affecting the power production of Ramirez. Even when Ramirez was struggling in the past two seasons, he would still have a respectable power display. But this season, Ramirez is the furthest thing from a power hitter. That does not bode well for the Cubs, considering they depend on Ramirez to be a run producer in the middle of the lineup. Despite the lack of power, though, manager Mike Quade has been up to his stubborn ways by leaving Ramirez as the cleanup hitter in the lineup. How long will that last, if Carlos Pena continues to hit for power as he has this this month–having 6 home runs in the month of May.
Going back to Ramirez, the question should be asked on whether or not Ramirez has had his hamstring evaluated by team officials. For instance, Ramirez may avoid a MRI in an attempt to keep playing. Considering Ramirez is coming off of two injury riddled seasons and is in a contract year, there clearly is motive for him to stay on the field in an attempt to get the best contract possible. Regardless of how well Ramirez does this season, the Cubs will not be picking up his 2012 team option. Meaning either way, a pay cut may be in line for Ramirez no matter what team signs him in the winter.