Live from Port Charlotte: Manny: "I've just got a chip on my shoulder"
Manny Ramirez worked out for the first time this morning as a Ray, then spent nearly 20 minutes sitting at his locker talking - softly and at times reflectively - to reporters about his new gig, his past and his purpose for this season, which is why he reported to camp five days early.
"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,'' Ramirez said. "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.''
Why does he have the chip? "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.''
Ramirez said he was as excited to play with the Rays as they have said they are with him. He acknowleded he has never been a DH for a full year so he doesn't know how that will work, and didn't have a preference where he hit in the order.
He had tremendous praise for new teammate Evan Longoria. "Longo, he's the man, he's the captain of this team,'' Ramirez said. "I'm just here to go out and prove to people I can still play. He's showing everybode he's young and he's doing it.''
Ramirez was reflective when talking about his career numbers and said reaching 600 home runs (he needs 45) doesn't matter because "you can't take the with you.''
Among other things:
On his goals for this season: "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.''
Like 30 homers and 100 RBIs? "I wish. I'm going to go in and give all I've got. ... We'll see.''
On how Carl Crawford will do in Boston: "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.''
On his motivation: "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.''
On playing with the Rays: "I'm excited to play with them. It's great. I look at it this way - when I was at their age I was doing the same thing they're doing. Now when you have maybe one or two years left in your career you're excited because you say to yourself I used to do that when I was their age.''
On hearing from formerBoston teammates when he signed with Rays: "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.'' '
On getting the 45 homers he needs for 600: "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.''
On what is important to him: "I think your family, your kids. That's it.''
Ramirez has three sons - he said all are named Manny - and the oldest is 15 (6-foot-2 and "bigger than me" ) and playing high school ball in Orlando. His son's favorite, by the way? Albert Pujols.