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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 22, 2010

MLB: Manny Ramirez says this is his final season in LA

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. Manny Ramirez is known for saying some curious things. This is his latest pronouncement: The Dodgers star insists his days in LA are numbered.
I know Im not going to be here next year, Ramirez said Monday.

Ramirezs contract expires after this season. Why is he so certain he wont get an extension?
I dont know, he said. I just know Im not going to be here.
At 37, Ramirez is heading into his 17th major league season. The former World Series MVP served a 50-game drug suspension last year and, for him, was hardly a force .290, 19 home runs, 63 RBIs.
Ramirez threw out the possibility that he could retire after 2010.
What I can do is to just wait and at the end of the season I can say to myself if I want to do this, if I want to play, Ramirez said. Thats where Im at. I think I have to wait until the season ends and see where my familys at and make a choice.
Asked if he can see a scenario where Ramirez might be pursued in the offseason, general manager Ned Colletti wasnt in the mood to look into the future.
Im worried about this season, thats where my focus is, Colletti said. If that is accurate (that Ramirez wont return to the Dodgers) and he still wants to play after this year, I hope that hes the premier free agent on the market. That would mean he had a great year for the Dodgers.
Ramirez knows the business of baseball. He knows that if he struggles, the Dodgers probably wouldnt want him back. Hes also aware that if he returns to being a dominating offensive force, the Dodgers, with their uncertain financial situation, likely would not be in a position to re-sign him.
Ramirez can often be a bundle of contradictions and Monday was no different. He said he has accomplished everything he wanted to in the game. Yet, he said he worked harder this offseason than ever.
My whole career I never hit (during the winter) but after this year I needed to figure out some stuff, so thats what I did, said Ramirez, who has been in Arizona a full week before position players are required to report.
A late arrival to spring training in 2009 as his contract was being negotiated, Ramirez started the season batting .348 with six home runs and 20 RBI over the first 27 games.
On May 7, though, he was suspended for violating baseballs drug policy. He returned to bat .278 in July and .301 in August, but hit just .218 from Sept. 1 until the end of the season.
A big turning point was a July 22 game against Cincinnati when he was hit on the wrist by a pitch from Homer Bailey. Despite hitting for average over the next month, Ramirez struggled with pitches on the inner half of the plate the remainder of the season.
The Dodgers have made the playoffs in both years Ramirez was on the team.
I know he wasnt happy with the way things went on here (last season) and the way he struggled, manager Joe Torre said. He was determined to get that thing straightened out. He watched a lot of video, did some work this winter and feels pretty good about where he is now.
Torre isnt about to buy into the idea that Ramirez wont play after 2010.
I think it will depend on whether it continues to be fun for him, Torre said. Im sure there are things he wants to accomplish statistically. And just knowing Manny over the last 15 years or so, if its not fun for him, he will have trouble going out there doing it as a job. But Id like to believe he will play longer than this year.
Ramirez said he appreciated the support Dodgers fans have given him.
Its been great, he said. I wish I could have been there a long time ago. Its a great city and I had a blast there. Im just happy the way they received me out there. It was unbelievable.