Manny's personality in midseason form

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Manny's personality in midseason form

Manny Ramirez might be honing his game at the plate, but his personality is in midseason form. Before Monday's game in Sacramento, the veteran slugger emerged unannounced from the clubhouse, wrapped myself and another reporter in his arms and dragged us down the tunnel, saying "Let's go!"Ramirez, who is hitting .258 (8-30), with four RBIs and three walks for Triple-A Sacramento, doesn't appear to be letting the pressures of proving he still belongs in the Major Leagues get to him. He is just enjoying the experience and getting in his at-bats. In his mind, these games don't count anyways. "God gave me the talent, I am just going to go and enjoy it," Ramirez said before Monday's game. "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. "I think that Manny has continued to build on some of his at-bats here," Sacramento outfielder Michael Taylor said. "He's trying to find his rhythm, and his particular swing, and the best version of himself right now. He's tinkering with a few things and rightfully so. He's got time, taking a year and change off is tough to do. It's tough not to play for a few days and hit."
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Manny doesn't seem worried about the statistics. He says he just wants to feel good. Before the interview started he grabbed my voice recorder and proclaimed into the mic, that today he is going to hit a home run. Ramirez is eligible to return to the Major Leagues on May 30, after serving a 50-game drug suspension. He isn't sure if the A's will come calling for him on that day."It's going to take time," Ramirez said. "I am getting there slowly, the only way you are 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.""It depends on the need for the club up there," Sacramento manager Darren Bush said before the game. "It depends on how he feels. There are a lot of factors and variables that go into that. As far as him being ready offensively, he had a good spring, swung the bat well in spring, he's getting a some hits here. It just depends how he feels really."Some of the young players on the River Cats roster might not want to see Manny rush to the big leagues either. Having the soon-to-be 40 veteran who has 555 career home runs around is a learning experience."I think that guys are watching how he goes about his business, Bush said. "Guys are watching that even though he is loose and relaxed, the guy works. He works extremely hard. He is out in the field running, he is in the cage taking swings. He is watching video he is talking about hitting constantly."When Ramirez isn't training and talking about hitting, he is playing practical jokes that keep the team loose. "Yesterday we had kangaroo court," outfielder Michael Taylor said. "We make fun of some of the Australian guys because when they get fired up we can't really understand what they are saying. So Manny in true Manny fashion, in the middle of the court screams 'speak english' which is pretty funny because sometimes you can confuse what Manny is saying too." Ramirez may give off the vibe that he doesn't care, or that he isn't serious, but in fact he does. Everybody raves about his work ethic. His presence will definitely make an impact in the A's clubhouse behind the scenes. Whether or not he can help the A's on the field remains to be seen. Ramirez hit .059 in 17 at-bats in 2011 for the Rays. Ramirez however, seems to have put the past behind him. "I'm just going out there and swinging and getting my rhythm," Ramirez said. "Have fun, and enjoy the game like I always do and move on."

Report: Ex-A's outfielder agrees to $13 million deal with Yankees

Report: Ex-A's outfielder agrees to $13 million deal with Yankees

XON HILL, Md. — A person familiar with the negotiations says free agent outfielder Matt Holliday and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $13 million, one-year contract.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday night because the agreement had not yet been announced.

Holliday, who turns 37 next month, fits into the Yankees strategy of signing veterans to short-term deals while pivoting toward a youth movement.

A seven-time All-Star, Holliday was drafted by Colorado in 1998, traded to Oakland after the 2008 season and then dealt to St. Louis the following July. He hit .246 with 20 homers and 62 RBIs in 110 games this year, missing substantial time after his left thumb was broken when he was hit by a pitch on Aug. 11.

Holliday became a free agent when St. Louis declined his $17 million option.

Mariners sign former A's lefty reliever to $11 million deal over two years

Mariners sign former A's lefty reliever to $11 million deal over two years

The Seattle Mariners have signed free agent lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a two-year contract.

Rzepczynski's deal is fo $11 million over two years. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN first reported details of the contract

The Mariners also signed right-handed reliever Casey Fien on Saturday. Left-hander Dean Kiekhefer and righty Zach Lee were designated for assignment.

The 31-year-old Rzepczynski was a combined 1-0 with a 2.64 ERA in 70 games for Oakland and Washington this season. He then pitched three times in the NL playoffs for the Nationals.

Rzepczynski has made at least 70 appearances in each of the last three years. He's also pitched for Toronto, St. Louis, Cleveland and San Diego in an eight-season career.

The 33-year-old Fien was 1-1 with a 5.49 ERA in 39 games for Minnesota and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 27-year-old Kiekhefer made his major league debut last season and pitched 26 times in relief for the Cardinals. Seattle claimed him off waivers from St. Louis last month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.