FORT MYERS, Fla. — Manny Ramirez took part in his first workout with the Rays, five days before the reporting date for positional players, and then spoke to Tampa Bay area reporters after the workout in Port Charlotte.
The former Red Sox slugger said, “I’ve just got a chip on my shoulder that I want to be here and I want to get my stuff right and show people that I can play. I’m looking forward for a new year and to go out there and see what I can do. … I want to go out there and give all I’ve got.”
Ramirez, who will earn $2 million on a one-year deal, couldn’t really explain why he had that chip but elaborated, “I don’t know, that’s just me. That’s just me. I want to go and get that feel back that I’ve still got it. I think every year you have to go out there and have something to prove because you like to compete. I think every player during the off-season prepares just to have a great season. We love to complete.”
Among the other highlights of Manny’s 20-minute chat:
• Touching on his goals for the season, Ramirez indicated “I just want to stay healthy, that’s my main course. If I do that I think everything is going to take care of itself. I wish (30 homers and 100 RBI). I’m going to go in and give all I’ve got. … We’ll see.”
• He spoke about being a full-time DH for the first time in his career and expressed that he didn’t know how it would work. Ramirez used to say he never wanted to DH, but over the past couple of seasons the wear and tear on his legs have likely changed that thinking.
• Asked about Carl Crawford in Boston, he said, “It’s great. It’s a great town to play. I think he’s going to do way better over there. … Sometimes they expect so much of you, over there the competition is so good that he’s going to have to maybe focus more.”
• Said he heard from David Ortiz. “I spoke to (David) Ortiz probably like two weeks and he was excited that I had a job and we’re talking about, ‘keep your head up, you’ve still got it.” ‘
• Loves Evan Longoria: “Longo, he’s the man, he’s the captain of this team. I’m just here to go out and prove to people I can still play. He’s showing everybody he’s young and he’s doing it.”
• Wasn’t too into reaching more career milestones like 600 homers (45 away). “I haven’t thought about it, but it don’t matter, man – 600, 500, 800. … Because when you die, none of that matters. They could make you a statute or whatever, it don’t matter when you die. … When you die you can’t take them with you.”
• Said he has three sons named Manny and that the oldest is playing high school baseball in Orlando and is 6-2.
• About last season’s poor results with the Dodgers and White Sox: “Last year, not looking for an excuse, I got hurt like maybe three times in the season, so I think I was a little bit heavy, so I said maybe I put my weight down to see how I feel. I feel much better. I can move much better. I was 237 now I’m 225. I feel good.”