Ramirez: 'The more I play the better I get'

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Ramirez: 'The more I play the better I get'

Before the game Manny Ramirez walked out of the clubhouse, wrapped myself and another reporter in his arms and dragged us down the tunnel. He said "Let's go!" And we did, peppering him with questions for five minutes. Here is the transcript.Thank you very much for taking the time. How do you feel?Manny Ramirez: I feel great, like I've been telling everybody this is like spring training for me. Having been playing for the whole year I was in extended spring facing each other. I feel good, the more I play the better I get.Anything particular you are working on at the plate?Manny Ramirez: The more pitches I see, that's why I am taking a lot of breaking balls and fastballs. Because the more pitches I see, the more better I get.How has your approach progressed? Manny Ramirez: Remember I have only played in eight games, I missed a year. I am just being patient to myself. How close are you to being ready?Manny Ramirez: It's going to take time, but I am getting there slowly, the only way you going to get there is going in there and facing pitchers, you know getting yourself out. Something is going to click and then you are there.Do you feel like you have gotten noticeably better from the first inning you played with these guys and today?Manny Ramirez: Like I said, I haven't played in a year so, you miss a year and its going to take a lot. You see a lot of guys in the big leagues or in here, that they played a whole year. So imagine missing a year.Is it refreshing to come back to the minor leagues? Out of the spotlight? Manny Ramirez: Well this is the time for you to work. You going to work on something, this is the time here in extended spring. This is where you just see it to get your start. Forget about what everyone is expecting, just concentrate on what you need to do. Do you feel like you've seen enough pitches at this point? Manny Ramirez: I have got to keep seeing them, I have only played eight games. Guys in the big leagues they played how many games 50 almost? And some people are still just trying to get their timing. Imagine if you've only got eight games. Are you just looking for that first extra base hit? Manny Ramirez: No, I am just looking for the feeling. I take one day off, I get rusty, you take a year off.

If the A's make the call, are you going to be ready on May 30? Manny Ramirez: I am going to go give my best. Why not? That's all you can do is go try. God gave me this talent and I still have it. On Friday you said all pitches are still giving you trouble, Are you getting used to seeing all pitches? Manny Ramirez: I'm just going out there and swinging and getting my rhythm, have fun and enjoy the game like I always do and move on.How tough was last year, just missing the game and missing your routine and all of that?Manny Ramirez: You do something for 19 years and you don't have it, you are going to miss it. But God gave it to me back. And everyday it doesn't matter if it is good or bad, I am just going to enjoy myself. Is that the main reason you decided to come back?Manny Ramirez: I love the game, and I know I can play. Like I said, people said when are you going to come back I miss you? So I decided to make a run for it.Do you feel like you have a chip on your shoulder? Manny Ramirez: Why not? God gave me the talent. I am just going to go and enjoy it. And trust myself. This is a time for me to work. This is a time if I want to hit with two strikes, if I want to swing 3-0, this is the time to do it. Because once you come up everything changes. Why not? You are going to practice something practice it here when it doesn't count. How do you feel you can help the A's? Manny Ramirez: I'm just going to do my job.Do you enjoy working with minor league guys? Being a teacher? Manny Ramirez: I'm not a teacher. Most of them have done time in the big leagues. They know what to do. We just go and have fun.

A's lineup: Canha moves up, Pinder at DH against Yankees

A's lineup: Canha moves up, Pinder at DH against Yankees

The A's look to take down the Yankees in some early Saturday baseball. Manager Bob Melvin makes some changes to the order.

Oakland A's (22-25)

1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Mark Canha (R) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Ryon Healy (R) 1B
6. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) DH
8. Josh Phegley (R) C
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jharel Cotton -- RHP

New York Yankees (27-18)

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Gary Sanchez (R) C
3. Matt Holliday (R) DH
4. Starlin Castro (R) 2B
5. Aaron Judge (R) RF
6. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
7. Aaron Hicks (S) CF
8. Chris Carter (R) 1B
9. Ronald Torreyes (R) 3B
CC Sabathia -- LHP

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.

Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.

“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”

Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).

“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”

With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.

Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.

“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”

The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.

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Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.

After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.