Manny is Super Bowl-bound

Just talked with Gene Matos, one of Manny Ramirez’s agents. He said he was on his way to Arizona, where Manny has been working out at the Athletes Performance Institute, and that they were going to the Super Bowl.

“He’s going to the game,” Matos said. “The Patriots got him some tickets. I don’t think he’s ever been before.”

Ramirez is said to be in great shape this winter — that’s the word of Dustin Pedroia, who also has been at API — and Matos described Manny as “fired up. I haven’t seen him myself yet, but I know he’s in great spirits. Heck, they just won the World Series.”

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When I mentioned that I’d be arriving early for spring training, Matos laughed and said, “Maybe we’ll convince Manny to come to camp early, too.”

Manny’s arrivals in Fort Myers have become something of an annual event — remember last year’s antique car show hoohah? It will be interesting to see if Manny maintains the cheerful persona he exhibited so freely in the postseason, when he suddenly turned into a chatterbox and left us with the memorable “I’m a bad man” line after a game-winning home run in October.

As my colleague Nick Cafardo pointed out earlier this week, the Sox don’t have to exercise the option on Manny’s contract — they hold a $20m option for both 2009 and 2010 — until November, and won’t be in any hurry to do so. But Manny, who needs just 10 home runs to reach 500 for his career, doesn’t seem inclined to make the option an issue at this stage. He turns 36, by the way, on May 30.

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