On the day position players had to report to spring training, the Chicago Cubs announced the hiring of Manny Ramirez as a hitting consultant and Kevin Youkilis as a scouting and player development consultant.
Both players have ties to Cubs president of baseball operation Theo Epstein, who was general manager of the Boston Red Sox when both players were there. Additionally, Ramirez served as a player-coach at Triple-A Iowa last season for the Cubs.
A two-time world champion and 2004 World Series MVP, Ramirez will continue to work with the club's major and minor league hitters on the fundamental and mental aspects of hitting in his new role.
Ramirez played 19 major league seasons with the Cleveland Indians (1993-2000), the Boston Red Sox (2001-08), Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-10), the Chicago White Sox (2010) and Tampa Bay Rays (2011). He batted .312 with a .411 on-base percentage and a .585 slugging percentage, good for a .996 OPS.
Youkilis' new role will see him assist the front office by scouting amateur and professional hitters in Northern California and will work with hitters in the minor league system under the direction of the hitting coordinator.
Youkilis recently retired from an 11-year major league career with the Boston Red Sox (2004-2012), Chicago White Sox (2012) and New York Yankees (2013). He played briefly in Japan in 2014.