OAKLAND, Calif.: For no particular reason, manager Terry Francona was asked if he thought Manny Ramirez could still hit major-league pitching,
""I don't know, because i haven't seen him, except for one game in winter ball,'' Francona said.
Francona managed Ramirez in Boston. Ramirez spent his formative years with the Tribe, as he gained the reputation of being one of the best hitters in the game.
""I don't think Manny ever had a year like Miguel (Cabrera),'' Francona said. ""But he's probably the best right-handed hitter I've ever seen.
""He was a very intelligent hitter. He saw things that other people weren't able to see. And he worked very hard on hitting, watching a video and spending a lot of time in the cage.''
Francona told this story:
""I was always he first guy to get to the ballpark, but Manny would come in early and work out. There would be weights thrown all over the place by the time he left, and when he was done, he would go home and come back later.''