Results tagged ‘ Manny Ramirez ’

Pedro to Sox fans: Cheer Manny next week

When the 2004 Red Sox have their 10-year reunion at Fenway Park next week, there should be great memories of the characters that helped break an 86-year World Series championship drought.

Amid a festive atmosphere, Pedro Martinez hopes that Red Sox fans rise to the occasion and give Manny Ramirez a warm welcome in his first visit to Fenway Park since 2010.

“It took a lot for him to come,” said Martinez. “He wants to make it up to the Boston fans. He wants to show everybody that he’s a different person, that he’s a Christian man and a role model to his family. His kids are going to be here. It will be nice if we all kind of get together and just make a fun day out of it and remember that Manny was the MVP [of the World Series] and he’s the biggest reason probably why we won it.”

The ceremony will take place prior to the May 28 home game against the Braves.

When the Red Sox signed Ramirez to an eight-year contract in December 2000, Martinez was one of the players who helped recruit him.

Fittingly, Martinez also was one of the key people to encourage Ramirez to come back to Boston for a reunion in which nearly every core member of the “Idiots” will be on hand.

“Yeah, I tried to talk him into it,” Martinez said. “He wants to make up with Boston again.”

There were many highs and lows for Ramirez in Boston, but nobody can dispute he is one of the best hitters in club history.

In eight seasons with the Sox, Ramirez was a .312 hitter with 274 homers and a .999 OPS.

Ramirez was traded for Jason Bay in 2008 after several incidents, including a dugout skirmish with Kevin Youkilis and an altercation in which he pushed traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground.

After his departure from the Red Sox, Ramirez was twice suspended for violation of MLB’s performing-enhancing drugs policy, the latter of which occurred during his brief stint for the Rays in 2011.

But Martinez can sense how regretful Ramirez is of those incidents.

“He made a couple of mistakes,” said Martinez. “He knows it, but now he knows he’s a different man. He’s a Christian man and all he wants to talk about is God.”

This will be the first time Ramirez has done anything in affiliation with the Red Sox since his controversial departure from the club.

“His kids, I’m pretty sure, are very excited to come over and see their dad again in Fenway,” Martinez said. “I think fans should take that in consideration.”

Damon unplugged

It’s always good to catch up with Johnny Damon, who is now with, believe it or not, his sixth Major League team. Damon is playing for his hometown Rays, ironically taking Carl Crawford’s place in the lineup.

Will he play for the Orioles and Blue Jays, allowing him to say he’s played for all five AL East teams. “No, I really don’t think so,” Damon said. “I go into every year hoping that I’m stuck with my last team. Hopefully that’s the case for me.”

The situation: “It’s great for me. I actually love the fact that I’ve actually now, this is my sixth team. You get to see how organizations are run, how important it is for teams to have signings that work. Tampa’s not a team that can afford to lock up a guy and not have it work out because that sets teams back. Probably just the Yankees and Boston can get away with something not working. Every other team would be hurt for a few years.

What’s it like being on the Rays with Manny while Crawford is with the Red Sox? “It’s weird. When I was a younger player I never thought I’d be on this many teams. I figured three teams or so, and here I am now. still enjoying it, though, still getting after it. Hopefully it will be another good year to make me want to come back next year.”

Having fun with Manny again? “Nothing of the press conference was rehearsed or anything. We were just two guys having a good time and enjoying being each others’ teammates again and bringing our talents to the St. Pete area. “

Any changes in Manny? “He’s always been great. There was never a question with myself or the team that we were on. Everyone knew what our places were. We enjoyed his company as a person, and obviously we enjoyed him getting the big hits for us.”

What will Crawford’s time in Boston be like? “Only time will tell. We couldn’t really define my time in Boston until we won a championship. Same in New York. Championships are what people remember you for. I was on a pretty good team, pretty stacked team. I’m sure there’s going to be at least one somewhere in his stay there.

Handling big market after playing in a small market? “I think you just have to handle it the right way. if you keep trying to run from it, that’s where you run into talking to one guy here, another guy there, that’s when your whole day is gone. But if you learn how to manage, it’s so much better.

Count Damon among those impressed by Boston’s bullpen: How many closers do they have there? You have Bard, you have Jenks, you have Papelbon. That’s pretty solid. And their starters are really good. They can shorten a game very quickly, kind of like the Yankees of the late ’90s. Pitchers gave them five or six innings and it was game over.

On Jenks: “He’s real good. I’ve always had trouble hitting off of him. Hopefully this year will be a little bit different. But their team definitely went in the right direction. Obviously, on paper, they’re the team to beat. Who knows how many games it will take to win the East? Baltimore’s gotten better. Maybe 90 games and wild card comes from somewhere else? That’s how stacked the division is.

Happy to be back in the AL East? “Absolutely, I enjoyed playing in Detroit, and actually was hoping to get back there. That was a big reason for vetoing the trade. If I would have known at the time that they weren’t going to bring me back, I would have showcased myself for the upcoming free agent year. But I knew then that Tampa was going to be a strong possibility for me, because I knew then that they couldn’t keep Crawford.”

So he would have gone to Boston last August  if he knew the Tigers weren’t going to keep him? “I wanted to stay there for the right reasons. Those kids were very fond of me. They loved the experience factor. Boston was seven games out at the time. At the time, I think a big thing was being able to play. They didn’t give me any indication. The ownership loved me. The fans loved me. So I thought it was close to being a slam dunk. But to find out on the last day of the season.

How perfect a setup is it playing for the Rays, being that he’s a Central Florida native? “Yeah. I was hoping someday it would be great. Obviously, ’98, I was still with the Royals in my fourth year, and the team I grew up rooting for was the Royals. At the time, you think you can play your whole career in one place. Then that first time you get traded, you’re like, ‘Whoa, alright, all bets are out the window.’ That’s why I didn’t mind moving around throughout my career, try to put myself in a great situation, not only for myself and a chance to win but also for my family.” 

Best of Boras

One of the annual events at the Winter Meetings has become the State of
Scott Boras address. It usually isn’t planned ahead, it just sort of
happens. Today, the circumstances were ripe. Boras was at the press
conference announcing the signing of Carlos Pena with the Cubs, so the
assembled reporters gathered with him in the hall once that was over.

Boras
discussed the latest on free agent clients Adrian Beltre, Magglio
Ordonez and Rafael Soriano, while also talking about Prince Fielder’s
uncertain future, and a lot more. Here is a sampling.

Beltre:
“Well that’s a very busy market for Adrian. We’re in the middle of lot
of negotiations with a lot of teams for him and they’re ongoing. “

The
Angels are a team that could be a fit for Beltre, and Boras maintains
– contrary to recent reports — that his client still has interest in
the Oakland Athletics.

Magglio:”Actually we had a workout
today with Magglio where he got a chance to illustrate where his
baseball abilities were at, just to show he’s 100 percent. That took
place this morning. Teams got to see that. I really don’t know [how
many teams] because I haven’t gotten the report. I know that Detroit
was there for sure.”

The Red Sox are a team that could compete with the Tigers for the services of Magglio Ordonez.

Soriano:
“The closer market is always an interesting one in the sense that teams
never ever want anyone to know that they’re interested in a closer.
Mainly because there are few closers who are the sure 90 percent
closers available and they never get to free agency. It’s almost like a
dynamic where you don’t want anyone to know in your organization that
the candidates you have to be a closer are not efficient for the role
because you may end up with them. unlike starters, because there are
five of them. Clubs I think are very cautious about interest in closers
because it has such an impact on those who may have to do the job if
they in fact don’t get the contract with the closer that’s a free
agent.”

Prince: “I can’t really address that. I think
that, in each situation, a general manager has got to look at the
probability and whether the ownership wants the player to stay vs. the
prospects and/or draft picks they may get. In each scenario, it really
depends on the judgments of the variables given to the general manager.
sometimes ownership gets to reflect on what goes on in the marketlplace
and they may evaluate their positions on what they want to do with
their existing players. We’ve certainly, had discussions last year.
Doug and I met at the GM Meetings. We continue to talk. Whether mark
and I are going to sit down, I don’t know. Doug and I are going to have
meetings further about prince’s short term and potentially long-term
situation.”

Fielder is eligible for free agency at the end of
the season and Adrian Gonzalez, who was just traded to the Red Sox, is
likely to sign a contract worth roughly $154 million over seven years.

Strasburg: He
began his rehab oh, a month and a half, two months ago. Working out
every day. Our Sports fitness people are working with him daily. He’s
well into … the doctors say it’s obviously going to be the middle of
next year before he’s going to be looking to get back to things.

There was a bit of controversy about Strasburg’s mechanics following the revelation he had to have surgery.

“I
think we’re going to leave that to the Washington Nationals. There’s a
lot of things that have been said. But we’ve been through the Tommy
John situation with a  whole host of pitchers in my career. To suggest
when you’re a young thrower with all that ability, to determine when
that occurred or why that occurred … certainly the medical staff has,
with the certainty that many prognosticators have placed out there,
they’re not quite so certain that’s the case.”

Manny Ramirez: “Manny
has certainly told me we’re out looking for a one-year contract. But
remember, too, that this is Manny Ramirez. We’re talking about a
contract that certainly will have incentives in it. But I think there
are short-term contracts for players, and there are short-term
contracts for players who have a historical history of being a great
player like Manny.  We found out Manny had some medical maladies that
had to be surgically repaired in the offseason, that we did not know
about and that he played with during the season. I think it had a
pretty big impact on his performance. He’s ready to go. he’s a guy
that’s got his full health. Obviously, he’s looking for a situation
that allows him to DH and play a bit, that he really thinks will aid
him to stay in the batter’s box.”

Carlos Beltran:  Carlos
is doing well. obviously having gone through his surgery early in the
season last year helped him. His return to play, he’s doing fine. He’s
working out with a conditioning plan daily. His plan right now is to be
a New York met. He has a no trade clause. If anything were brought to
him, I think it would depend on what the situation were. I would say
certainly now that his expectation would be to be a Met next year.”
 
The Red Sox have had least had mild discussions with the Mets about Beltran.

“He
has a no-trade clause, so whatever decisions that he and Jessica make
are going to be around the idea that any other information will come
forward. I can only say that’s something the Mets would have to bring
to Carlos. To date, Carlos’ plan is to be a Met, because he does
control whether he is a Met or not. For those reasons, unless something
unforeseen happens, I would say he will be a Met.”

Johnny Damon:
“I think Johnny’s open to playing on winning teams. He definitely wants
to be a part of an organziation that’s got a chance to do something. I
think any club that he feels has a chance to win, he’d be interested
in.”

Manny being Manny — again

Who can figure Manny out? The newest member of the Chicago White Sox is back in Boston for the second time this season, but far more talkative than in his first visit.

Do you know that if the Red Sox had been awarded the waiver claim for Ramirez instead of the White Sox, he would have happily come back to Boston?

“What I did here in the past is in the past. But if they claimed me, why should I say no?” Ramirez said.

For the first time, he was openly apologetic about the way his time with the Red Sox ended. You know, the swing at Youkilis, the shoving of Jack McCormick, the petulant behavior. All that stuff.

“Everything was my fault, but you have to be a real man to realize when you do wrong. It was my fault, right. I already passed that stage,” Ramirez said. “I’m happy. I’m on a new team. When I went to first base [in June], I told Youkilis, ‘What happened between you and me, that’s my fault. I’m sorry. It takes a real man to go and tell a person it was my fault  and that’s what I did.”

Ramirez is clearly more introspective than at any time before in his career.

“In life, you pass every stage,” Ramirez said. “I passed that stage and you keep growing. You look back and say I did this wrong, but what’s done is done. All you can do is go and play the game and finish your career good.”

Ramirez will be at Fenway Park all day on Saturday for a day-night doubleheader.

Boston-LA is in the air

There is a different kind of feel at Fenway today. Not only are the Celtics and Lakers getting ready to play what should be an epic Game 7 tonight — pushing the start time up here — but Manny Ramirez is coming back to Fenway tomorrow. Yes, Red Sox-Dodgers.

It is going to be a circus-like atmosphere for sure. It’s too bad Manny will likely DH instead of play left. It would have been fun to watch him talk to the fans above the Monster, etc. Also, he was always capable of some entertainment on defense.

A lot of people on my twitter page think Manny is going to get cheered instead of booed. That really surprised me. What do you guys think?

In daily news, Dice-K threw a side session today and will throw a simulated game in a few days. He could be back in the rotation by next week.

Give me some score predictions for the basketball game tonight.

Coming tomorrow, you will  get my 3,500 word chronology of Manny’s time in Boston. A lot of higlights, lowlights and bloopers.

Clouds over Fenway

Sitting in my seat here in the Fenway Park press box, there are big clouds engulfing the entire playing field and that is fitting on a day like this.

A New York Times report came out roughly one hour before game-time that David Ortiz was on the list of 104 players who tested positive in survey testing for performance-enhancing drugs back in 2003. Manny Ramirez was also on that list, but he of course was suspended for use of a banned substance earlier this season.

In Boston, the story is Ortiz, who has been one of the most beloved players in franchise history, something that was never more evident then when he was in his two-month slump earlier this season. Remember, this is a man who was endeared enough to get curtain calls for the first four home runs he hit this season.

But where will it go from here? What will Ortiz say after the game?

In his first at-bat today, he cracked a double on the very first pitch he saw. The crowd applause was pretty indifferent when he stepped up for his first at-bat. It was almost like they didn’t know whether to cheer or boo, so it was just kind of like, what I would call, a polite applause.

On his first day of Spring Training this year, David was very outspoken about the whole issue of steroids in baseball. He was disappointed that his friend Alex Rodriguez’s name came out from what was supposed to be an anonymous test in ’03, when there was not yet penalties for positive tests of PEDs.

Ortiz urged people to get away from the past and move forward, and suggested that anyone who tests positive in MLB’s testing program should be suspended for an entire season.

“I would suggest that everybody get tested, and not randomly,” Ortiz said on Feb. 16. “You go team by team and you test everybody, three, four times a year, and that’s about it. You do what you’ve got to do … ban them for the whole year [if they test positive]. You’re going to get respect from the players when they know they’re going to get tested. Let’s test the whole team, three or four times a year. I know they can do that. Believe me, if someone was using steroids, it would show up. Because the way they test you, it’s not a joke.”

How about past users, before the testing program was in effect?

“There’s been a lot of players who have been in federal court and being judged like they just killed somebody or they robbed somebody,” Ortiz also said on Feb. 16. “I don’t think all that is supposed to be happening. If you admitted that you’ve used stuff [in the past], boom, don’t use it anymore. It’s not good for you. You know it’s not good for the game. Let’s move on, you know what I mean? All the drama of bringing guys to court and acting like they are serious criminals, it doesn’t look good for the game. What is happening right now is about something that happened in the past. It’s not something that is happening right now. Everything was banned in, what, 2004?”

Anyway, more later.

Dice-K at Dawn

Who are the truest baseball junkies out there? The correct answer is those of you who will set your alarm clocks so you can watch Daisuke Matsuzaka face Korea at 5 a.m. ET on Saturday. This World Baseball Classic encounter from Tokyo will be televised on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and yes, MLB.TV.

Under tournament rules, Matsuzaka is permitted to throw 70 pitches in his first-round start.

Those of you who need a Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay fix can check out Team USA vs. Canada at 2 p.m. on Saturday on ESPN. And Big Papi David Ortiz will be representing the Domincan Republic in an 11 a.m. encounter (ESPN 2) against the Netherlands.

Things are much quieter here in Fort Myers, where a home game Spring Training lineup features Josh Reddick, Jeff Bailey, Zach Daeges, Chip Ambres and Ivan Ochoa.

Ace Josh Beckett is nearing the completion of a three-inning outing. Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury will make the trip to Port Charlotte tomorrow — “You’ll see those guys on every trip,” quipped Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

With the Marlins in town today, Alex Speier of WEEI.com used the timing element to write a nice blog entry on how close Manny Ramirez came to being a Marlin. Imagine how that could have changed the course of events? Would Manny still have wound up with the Dodgers this year? Would Manny have even approved a trade to the Marlins?

By the way, how utterly perplexing was Manny’s comment at the presser yesterday: “Sometimes you’re better off to have a two-year deal in a place that
you’re going to be happy than have an eight-year deal in a place that
you’re going to, you know, suffer.”

Suffer? Really? Did Manny suffer while winning two World Series? Did he suffer while earning $160 million in Red Sox dollars? Did he suffer while getting the trophy as World Series MVP in 2004? Did he suffer as fans adored him unconditionally for eight years, many of them who would write e-mails to every sportswriter who had the audacity to dare criticize Manny for one of his indiscretions? Did he suffer while teaming with David Ortiz to form one of the most dynamic 3-4 punches of this generation?

Suffer?!? If Manny ever plays at Fenway again, he will probably be greeted with the loudest round of boos in Red Sox history.

I will say one thing though. I did not “suffer” covering Manny during his time in Boston. He is the best pure hitter I’ve ever seen, and was always amusing to observe and, even when he allowed, to interact with.

Enough about Fight Night

During ALCS media hour, the Red Sox were pretty patient with all the different lines of questioning. And believe me, this is an interesting time of year when it comes to questions. You have media people here from all over the place and many of these people haven’t covered much baseball all season.

But the one question that seemed to be getting on the nerves of the players is whether there is any lingering animosity from the fight that took place back in June. You know. The one where Coco Crisp charged James Shields and did his best Muhammad Ali moves. That was so long ago. The Celtics were playing Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Manny Ramirez was still a core member of the Red Sox. In fact, he took a swing at Kevin Youkilis that same night.

Anyway, David Ortiz had the best response to the fight questions.

“Bad blood? This isn’t the WWF. This is a baseball game
bro. Come on. I see them out there, they hug me, I’m hugging them back. It’s a
game. Sometimes you have things happen in the game. It stays on the field. It’s not like you’re going to walk in the parking lot and wait for someone and whup
his [butt]. This is a baseball game, everybody has fun, you play your best and
hope to win the game, that’s about it.”

While Ortiz thought the fight talk was kind of funny, Youkilis is downright tired of it.

“The intensity is always there in the playoffs. I think everyone in the media is trying to look for someone to charge the mound and throw at guys. I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’s more of a media thing. It’s been blown out of proportion. To be honest with you, I think it’s getting kind of old.”

Not much in the way of real news today. Timlin is on the roster. Gil Velazquez — we hardly knew ye — is off.

Youkilis will start at third tomorrow. Mark Kotsay will get the nod at first. Where have you gone, Sean Casey?

Bay Watch — looking good so far

Jason Bay nervous in his first playoff game? Perhaps not. The left fielder absolutely obliterated an ill-placed heater by Lackey, launching it over the wall in left.

1-0 Angels is now 2-1 Sox. That was Bay and the Sox’s answer to Manny Ramirez‘s ridiculous golf shot at Wrigley earlier today.

Jon Lester competed his butt off tonight — 117 pitches worth. Anyone who thought this guy had the composure to pitch a Game 1 was absolutely right. If not for that Lowrie error, he’d have been unscored on.

And I loved the move by Tito of bringing in Masterson to start the eighth. As he’s done since coming up, Masterson came through. He got some help from Ellsbury (great catch) and Youkilis (nice throw).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers