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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez wins over teammates, fans with Triple-A team

07.22.13 at 8:05 am ET

Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA Summer League: Las Vegas championship, Warriors vs. Suns, 9 p.m. (NBA TV)


‘™¦ Manny Ramirez is hitting just .227 with three home runs in 12 games since joining the Triple-A Round Rock (Texas) Express, but the 41-year-old former Red Sox slugger is winning over teammates and fans during his stint with the Rangers’ minor league affiliate.

“The first day he came in here and said anything we want to do, just tell him,” Round Rock manager Bobby Jones told The New York Times. ‘€œI guess he had some things Texas talked to him about: his hair, his uniform was loose-fitting, it had to be right. So he comes in: ‘Does my uniform look O.K.?’ I said it looks fine to me. ‘How about my hair?’ I said it looks fine to me.

“He comes in a couple days later and I guess he had the dreadlocks out. Nolan was sitting here and he comes walking by and he asks Nolan, ‘Do you like my hair?’ And Nolan says, ‘No, I don’€™t like it at all.’ So the next day he comes in and his head was shaved.”

Added pitcher Jake Brigham: “He’€™s an incredible person. From the minute he walked in here, he was accessible. He was coming up and putting his arm around you, and he didn’€™t even know your name. Every day, he’€™s high-fiving you, excited to be here, excited to get to work.”

Ramirez, twice suspended for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, started the season in Taiwan, hitting .352 with eight home runs before heading back to the States for another shot at the majors — and a more comfortable life.

“He was saying they had to wash their own uniforms,” Jones said of Ramirez’s three months with the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. “It was miserable. At least here, he doesn’t have to wash his own uniform.”

‘™¦ Mark Sanchez has expressed confidence that he will be the starting quarterback for the Jets when they open the season against the Buccaneers, but rookie Geno Smith isn’t giving in.

“I feel like I have a great shot,” Smith told the Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette. “I did a pretty good job overall of just adapting to the [Jets’] system and playbook and felt very comfortable with it by the end of OTAs and mandatory [minicamp].”

Smith said he thinks his steady improvement since leaving West Virginia gives him a chance to unseat Sanchez, who struggled with inconsistency and turnovers and was benched last season.

“I have a goal in mind and I’m really going to go after that,” said Smith, who fell to the second round in April’s draft. “I want to be the best. It’s going to take time and effort, and that’s what I’m willing to put in. Once I step on the field, it’s about business. I’m really appreciative to have made it to this level, but there’s a lot more for me out there, and I’m going to try and strive for it.”

‘™¦ The hits keep coming for the University of Florida football team. The program has been painted in a negative light since the arrest of Aaron Hernandez and the revelation that he was involved in an incident that ended with two men being shot while Hernandez was a Florida freshman. On Sunday morning, Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested for the second time in five weeks and was suspended by the team for at least the first two games of the season.

Morrison, who was arrested June 16 for allegedly punching a bouncer, was out walking with friends early Sunday morning when they came upon a police car and Morrison barked at the K-9 dog inside (Morrison claims the dog barked at him first and he was merely responding). Police said Morrison then resisted attempts to handcuff him.

“I’m extremely disappointed in Antonio Morrison’s decision-making,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said in a statement.

Morrison, a sophomore from Bolingbrook, Ill., was released on his own recognizance.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 22, 2004, which minor league call-up became the only left-hander to start a game for the Red Sox all season?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Baseball’s such a unique game. The turns and twists are incredible. That’s the game we had been losing earlier in the year. Now, we’re winning that same game.” — Joe Maddon, whose Rays beat the Blue Jays on Sunday, 4-3, for their 13th win in 14 games as they head to Fenway to face off against the first-place Red Sox

STAT OF THE DAY: 9 — Walk-off wins this season for the Red Sox — the most in the majors — following Sunday night’s 8-7, 11-inning victory over the Yankees

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Suns rookie Archie Goodwin makes an off-balance one-handed shot off an inbounds pass while being fouled during a Las Vegas Summer League game against the Heat, although the referee waived it off because he said the foul occurred before the shot.

Mattingly Romanin, an infielder for the Hannibal (Mo.) Cavemen of the Prospect League (for college players), gets nailed by a skydiver who was parachuting in with the game ball before the Cavemen’s game against the Terre Haute Rex on Saturday at Samuel Clemens Field.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Abe Alvarez, who took the loss as the Red Sox fell to the Orioles, 8-3, in the first game of a doubleheader split

SOOTHING SOUNDS: George Clinton was born on this day in 1941.

Read More: Antonio Morrison, Geno Smith, Manny Ramirez, Mark Sanchez