Manny Ramirez arrived at Red Sox camp in Fort Myers at 9:01 a.m. this morning, wearing a No. 81 Oakland Raiders jersey (Tim Brown) and deflecting questions about his tardiness and the trade rumors that surrounded him all winter.
“My main focus is baseball right now and trying to help this team win,” said Ramirez, who spoke with a group of reporters shortly after his arrival. “Let me get this straight, I don’t want no questions about the trade rumors. … You guys want to talk about baseball or whatever, you know I’m open to talk.”
A new-look Manny Ramirez is greeted by Enrique Wilson today after arriving in Fort Myers. (Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)
One reporter asked him if he was happy to still be playing for the Red Sox, and he responded: “I’m here. I’m here.”
“I don’t live in the past, I live in the present and that’s it,” he said. “This is a new year … people want me to come back. People want me here so we’re just gonna move on. I’m just gonna come, do my job. I get paid to play baseball. That’s [why] I’m here. That’s it. What else can I say?”
Though he wouldn’t elaborate on his feelings about not being traded, he did offer his thoughts on Boston.
“I ain’t got no problem in Boston, I especially like the attention,” Ramirez said. “I know that I’m one of the top guys in this game and all the attention is on me, I got a lot of people on my shoulder but I’m human. I like to go. I like to have fun. I like to do this and that but I gotta represent Boston and the Red Sox in every way that I do outside this game. … Like I said I get paid to play baseball no [matter] where I go to play I still gotta go and perform even if I like it or not.”
His agent, Greg Genske, offered his take on the level of Manny’s contentment in Boston.
“All I can do is go by my conversations with him and what I see in Manny,” Genske said. “When I see him play baseball, that makes him happy. When I see him in the clubhouse and embrace his teammates, I see that as making him happy. From my perspective, I think he’s happy.”
Does Manny think the trade winds will blow again anytime soon? Or does he see himself finishing out his current contract in Boston?
“I guess if you guys want to talk about that my agent is right there and he’ll be glad to answer that question but I also want to get another thing straight,” he said. “I got a beautiful career going on and I’m not gonna let little things like this mess [up] all the things that I accomplished because I think when I finish my career I’m gonna be a special player and I’m not gonna let nobody stop that and that’s me. I got a goal for myself and I’m now gonna accomplish that.”
According to a Red Sox official, Ramirez had his physical this morning and worked out today with the team.
Ramirez told reporters he was in the best shape of his life, and, let me tell you, he looks it. He spoke today about the workout regimen that kept him at home an extra week.
“You know a lot of agility work, a lot of balance,” he said. “Trying to get my hamstring back again. [I] was doing the same thing that I do every year.”
The Red Sox announced last week that Ramirez would report today, but until he actually arrived no one knew for sure when he’d show up.
Ramirez, who showed up with a group of representatives that included agents Gene Mato and Greg Genske, confirmed that he was not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
“I’m not ready, so I’m not going to go out there and make a fool of myself,” he said.