Manny Ramirez arrived at the Oakland Athletics training facility in Phoenix on Friday to begin his return to baseball and said he was intent on demonstrating “I can still play.”
The A’s are hoping he can return to the level that made him one of the most feared hitters in baseball.
After taking batting practice, in which he hit seven home runs off A’s coach Mike Gallego, Ramirez addressed the media accompanied by his wife, Juliana, and two sons, Manny Jr. and Lucas.
“I was kind of nervous coming to the stadium,” Ramirez said. “I’m here because God brought me here. I know a lot of people are, ‘Oh, he’s not going to play anymore,’ but you know something? When God says that they’re going to open the door for you, no matter what anyone says, the door is going to open. That’s why I’m here.”
Ramirez did not address specifics on telling Major League Baseball he was retiring a week into the 2011 season or being arrested last September for allegedly hitting his wife during a domestic altercation.
TWINS: Justin Morneau said Friday he feels good, but knows he can’t guarantee that his concussion problems are behind him.
“I don’t think there will be a career if it’s something I’m dealing with (for the long term),” Morneau said before the Twins held their first full-squad workout of spring training. “That’s the reality of the whole thing. I’m obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem.”
CARTER MEMORIAL: In Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., more than 1,000 former teammates, family members and friends of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter paid tribute to him on Friday.
Though television screens beamed images of Carter emerging from the dugout, embracing teammates in enveloping hugs and sliding into home plate, those who knew him spoke more of his compassion, his devotion to faith and family and his genuine goodness.
“I’m gonna miss that smile, I’m gonna miss every part of Gary Carter because of the way he was,” said Johnny Bench, another Hall of Fame catcher. “For those who knew him, no words are necessary. For those who didn’t, no words are adequate.”
Carter died Feb. 16 of brain cancer. He was 57.