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Tuesday's roundup: Ramirez, Youkilis are hired by Cubs

Associated Press

Mesa, Ariz. — Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis were hired by Cubs executive Theo Epstein, their old boss on the Red Sox.

After serving as a player-coach for Triple A Iowa during the second half of last season, Ramirez was named the Cubs hitting consultant Tuesday.

"Manny got rave reviews from everybody he worked with, from the young hitters he helped influence to the coaches he spent a lot of time around," said Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations. "He did a great job of fitting in and sharing his wisdom and experience while being a good influence."

Suspended by baseball in 2009 and 2011 for performance-enhancing drugs, Ramirez made a positive impression with Epstein last summer.

"He was very open with the guys about what not to do in his past and lessons he learned along the way," Epstein said. "He was a huge asset, and we were really hopeful about the possibility of bringing him back."

Ramirez will work with hitters on the Cubs and at Triple A.

"From the end of last season through the winter and all this month he has expressed an interest in working with our young players," Epstein said. "It is a substantial role. He is going to spend plenty of time in spring training and in Chicago and Des Moines."

Youkilis was given a part-time job as a scouting and player development consultant.

"Youk is just starting out," Epstein said. "He just retired, and he is going to work part-time and see what he is good at."

A 12-time All-Star who last appeared in the majors during the opening week of the 2011 season, the 42-year-old Ramirez played winter ball in the Dominican Republic for Aguilas Cibaenas and hit .409 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 147 at-bats.

"In Manny's case the real changes that he made in his life — his habits, his outlook, his behavior, taking more responsibility and accountability for the things he has done and how he wanted to present himself — made us interested in the first place," Epstein said.

Around the horn

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... Mets first baseman Lucas Duda will not swing a bat for the next few days as he recovers from a left intercostal strain.

... Cuban infielder Robert Baldoquin, in the Dominican Republic, has visa issues and is not expected to be at spring training with the Dodgers when position players report today.