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.

Kaval: A's must 'swing for the fences' in choosing ballpark site

Kaval: A's must 'swing for the fences' in choosing ballpark site

MESA, Ariz. — After spending a few days at spring training, A’s president Dave Kaval heads back to the Bay Area on Tuesday to continue work on the team’s search for a ballpark site.

There are so many factors to consider — location, public transportation access, parking, government obligations to be fulfilled, etc. — it’s easy to understand why it’s such an all-encompassing process.

Kaval shared some detailed thoughts on all of the potential sites the A’s are considering during a visit on the A’s Insider Podcast. Here’s some highlights:

The A’s have narrowed down to four locations in Oakland to build a privately financed ballpark: Brooklyn Basin, Howard Terminal, Laney College and the current Coliseum site on which they play.

Are these four all uniquely different from each other or do they share some common traits?

“I think all of them can fulfill our long-term vision of this urban area around the ballpark,” Kaval said. “Think of Fenway, Wrigley … all of them can achieve that vision. We want to make sure with such a big decision that we swing for the fences. … I think the Coliseum is probably the hardest to create kind of an urban village, but I think it’s possible, and we’re not ruling it out.

"But all the other locations can have neighborhoods around the ballpark where people can live and you can just have a really intimate experience around the ballpark.”

There hasn’t been the same buzz about Brooklyn Basin as Howard Terminal. Located close to the water, does it offer similar attributes as Howard Terminal?

“It’s very close. There’s a couple different places the ballpark could go down there,” he said. “You’re closer to the water, which is exciting, and I think being on the water provides the ability to have water taxis, ferries, other transit options that kind of lower the requirement for parking, lower the requirement for walking or biking. And that actually can be a really great thing for the fan experience.”

Howard Terminal offers a big potential payoff with the terrific views available. But there are some substantial hurdles, not the least of which are the government regulations and approvals required to build right along the water.

“If you want to actually develop something in there, you need to have legislation from the state of California. That’s just something that has to happen,” Kaval said. “So when we think about the steps to get the individual sites (approved) and break ground, it’s just another one you have to do at that site. So you have to weigh, is it worth the time, effort, political opposition that might come up to pursue that type of effort? The site is so iconic that we’ve been keeping it in the mix because, wow, it could just be something that is a game changer.”

That’s just a sample of the many topics Kaval touched on over the course of the podcast.

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

MESA, Ariz. — Adam Rosales has a real simple plan for which infield position he chooses to try to get work at.

“Wherever there’s less guys, I go over there,” he explained with a smile.

The sun came out and the A’s finally got on the field for their first full-squad workout Monday after being rained out Sunday. That meant Rosales, back for his second go-round as an Athletic, got his first chance to prepare for what figures to be a super-utility role, which is how he’s carved out a nine-year major league career.

All indications are that he’ll be the primary backup infielder, capable of spelling Jed Lowrie at second base, Marcus Semien at shortstop, Trevor Plouffe at third and even fill in at first base or left field in a pinch.

Though Rosales, who spent 2010-12 with Oakland and re-signed in January on a one-year $1.25 million deal, is well-versed in preparing himself all over the diamond, one position in particular is one that he says is most difficult to master in limited time.

“Shortstop,” he offered without hesitation. “There’s a lot more going on there, a lot less room for error. At shortstop, especially with a guy like Mike Trout running, you’ve got to be in good rhythm, good timing, get rid of the ball and make an accurate throw.”

Depending on how the A’s prioritize their 25-man roster, Rosales could very well be the only backup infielder. That means fellow infielders Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder would start in the minors if the A’s were to keep a fifth outfielder or third catcher. But because the A’s have some players who can fill in at multiple spots, there’s numerous ways they can choose to configure the roster when it comes time to pare it down.

Rosales, 33, said walking back into the A’s clubhouse for the first time made him “feel like I’m back home.” So much of the support staff — equipment guys, clubhouse guys — are the same as when he was here before. He was also happy to see former infield mate Mark Ellis walk through the door Sunday. He says Ellis, a teammate from 2010-11, instilled in him the importance of being a great defender. Ellis is working as a part-time spring instructor.

“He told me, the No. 1 reason he was in the big leagues was because of this,” Rosales said, holding up his glove. “I was such a young player then. I’d always work with him, how to turn double plays. Just to have him around is awesome.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman were among the pitchers who faced hitters for the first time this season. Bruce Maxwell caught Gray, his first time behind the plate with Gray other than the one inning Gray threw in an abbreviated start at Anaheim toward the end of last season. Maxwell said Gray’s changeup in particular looked good.

Manager Bob Melvin has been very impressed early on with Graveman’s command. Graveman said he’s trying to improve his changeup, in an effort to induce weak contact from righties and get them on the their front foot, which could then make him more effective on the inside corner.

CAMP BATTLE: There could be a good fight for the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, and it would seem being left-handed could give someone an edge. Sean Doolittle is the only lefty currently projected among the A’s top six relievers. Melvin had good things to say about Daniel Coulombe, a lefty who made 35 appearances in relief last year and also saw a bit of time with Oakland in 2015. Coulombe posted a 4.53 ERA last season but struck out 54 in 47 2/3 innings.