Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez took exception to former teammate Todd Hollandsworth calling him out publicly Friday for lack of effort and for failing to be a positive influence on younger players, and he took his own shot in response.

''When you've got your best player — he's your best hitter; we've watched it for years now — and you can't seem to have a positive effect on the guys around you in the clubhouse,'' Hollandsworth, an analyst for broadcast affiliate Comcast SportsNet, told the ''MacNeil and Spiegel'' show on WSCR-AM (670), ''getting them to step up or play to a different level, it's just hard for me to swallow, especially when you're being paid to be that guy.''

Ramirez, a Cubs teammate of Hollandsworth in 2004 and '05, is in the final guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million extension. He leads the team with 71 RBI and is hitting .286 with 21 home runs.

''Then you bring into question effort,'' Hollandsworth continued, ''and that's one thing in the game of baseball that really is inexcusable. One hundred percent effort all the time — there's really no reason for you not to have 100 percent effort. He's got impressionable kids around him right now — Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro. These kids are growing up, they're watching it, and you know what? They're not getting any better.''