Manny Franco, I mean, Ramirez

Manny being Manny. Yes, the left fielder was his typical entertaining self in an interview session with the media that he initiated himself this morning. Manny sat down on a bench outside the clubhouse and discussed a bunch of issues, and reiterated that he wants to stay in Boston for as long as possible.

Later in the day, general manager Theo Epstein held court regarding Ramirez and a variety of other issues:

On Manny: “It’s great that Manny is here, in camp, on time. he’s
obviously put a lot of hard work into getting ready for the season. We’re
focused on 2008. Obviously Manny’s contract provides for the first of his
options to be decided upon at the end of the year. There’s a time for that, but
it’s certainly after the season. We’re looking forward to Manny continuing to
work hard and have a great year.”

Manny pulling a Julio Franco? “I wouldn’t put anything past
Manny. He’s certainly in great enough
shape where he can play at a high level for a long time. When something like
that is built into a contract, it makes sense just to be patient and wait for
just the appropriate time to deal with it. That’s well in the future. Right
now, we’re just focused on him having a great year.”

Manny’s year last year, “I think he produced at an elite
level, to say the least, when it mattered most. We certainly wouldn’t do it
over. He and David were a force to be reckoned with in the middle of our order
when the games mattered most. That’s what I look back and think about with his

Manny in better shape. “He looks good and is hopefully primed to have a big year.”

Better shape? “Manny always works hard. He doesn’t get the
credit that he deserves for being one of our hardest workers. This year, that
took a little bit of a different form. He was obviously out in
Arizona at API. I haven’t even seen him in uniform yet, so it’s
too early to tell. But he’s going to be prepared when the bell rings.”

Curt’s early rehab, “It’s the very earliest stages of his
rehab. But he’s showing up every day at six and attempting to put the work in.
I think he’s mentally in a place where he knows he’s got to work hard and be
patient in order to get back to a position where he can contribute.”

 Five outfielders? “It’s too early to get into roster
discussions. We don’t know what the makeup of the 25-man roster is going to be.
You start speculating at this time of spring, you end up having to go hunt for
25 healthy guys at the end of March. We’re just going to see what we have and
make the best decisions for the club at the appropriate time.”

On Coco ’s comments from
yesterday. “I think Coco was actually really
calm and deliberate about what he said. We’ve been in communication about it. I
think the way it was reported or the way it was reported in the interview that
came out with all you guys around skipped a step, and that step is that, as
Tito said, Coco’s the incumbent and Coco played great defense last year and was a huge part in our run prevention. We allowed
the fewest runs in all of baseball. he was a huge part on a club that won 96
games so he’s got an opportunity to keep his job and go out and make an impact
for this club again as an everyday player. it’s premature to speculate about
the next step because we haven’t even begun Spring Training. We’ll see how
things look down the road.”

Dice-K increasing his workload in Spring Training? “Yeah,
John Farrell works with the pitchers on a daily basis to make sure they’re
ready to go for the start of the season and prepared for what will hopefully be
a seven-month season once again. Suffice it to say, he’s not going to let any
of the pitchers do anything that would do more harm than good. We certainly
trust him to monitor Dice-K’s workload, as well the workload of any of the
other pitchers here in camp.”

Manny being on time, “Yeah, we’ve always had decent
communication with him about when he’s coming in. There always seems to be
something that comes up that prevents him from being here on time. I’d be lying
if I didn’t say it’s nice to see him. He’s ready to go and on time with the
rest of his teammates and that sends a great message.”

Manny Motivated? “I think he’s motivated every year. He
cares about winning and he has a lot of pride in his own performance, putting
up numbers. He’s one of our hardest workers. I think he’s always motivated.”

More on Manny, “The contract provides an option at the end
of this year and dictates the time-table for when the club has to make that
obligation. That’s just something that has to be dealt with at the appropriate
time. That’s an issue for after the season. Right now, he’s preparing to have a
big year and we’re preparing for the same.”

David Ortiz’s knee,  “I
think the surgery was needed and appears to have been successful. He’s pretty
close to 100 percent. He feels a lot of pain relief, which is good. We’re going
to be smart about it but I don’t think it’s a critical issue that we have to
monitor on a daily basis. He’s going to let us know how he feels and Tito will
be smart about how he uses him. Our hope is that it will be a non-issue this

On Dan Kolb, “We had room for a couple of more non-roster
invitees and there were a few guys who were throwing for scouts and he was one
of them so we went and saw him. He’s looking to bounce back in his career and
get back to a point where he can pitch effectively at the big league level.
Those non-roster invitees are basically no-risk, potential reward situations
for the club. He fits into that boat. He’s a hard worker, he’s a pro. If he can
get back to the level he was at a few years ago, he can help us at some point
this season.”

Time-frame on knowing if Schill has bounced back from the
cortisone shot? “It’s a real rehab process. We’re counting on at least six to
eight weeks of strengthening before we see where we are.”

“He’s doing the rehab and our guys will monitor it every
step of the way but we’re in the real preliminary phase of this thing. It’s way
too early to give you guys any feedback on how it’s going, other than, it’s

Mike Lowell said you had him at hello. “Yeah, well (as he
smiles), that’s why we barely moved from our initial offer.”

Will Wake negotiate a clause in his contract to bring
Mirabelli back every year? “Cash caught him pretty well last year. Wake’s a
little bit less needy than people think. He goes out there and he’s not a freak
because of the knuckleball. He’s a pitcher. He’s a member of this pitching
staff just like anyone else. He isn’t really that high maintenance.”



Good to see Manny talking about these things, also it was good to see him show up on time this year!
First time in awhile.

It seems to me that they have all worked really hard during the off season to get ready to try to repeat the WS. It seems that there has been absolutely no resting on laurels at all and I get the feeling that they all realise how much harder they will have to work this year than last.

It’s a good looking team – and I am not using the word ‘team’ loosely. I just hope that there aren’t any more major health issues and Schill’s on the hill, and winning, for a good portion of the season.

Can’t wait for the start of the season.

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