The first of Manny Ramirez's two homers in Boston's 14-9 dusting of Cleveland on Thursday was the third-longest homer in the 14-year history of Jacobs Field and undeniably the loudest shot of the Red Sox left-fielder's resurgent week, one which earned him American League Player of the Week honors on Monday.
"He's incredible. He's one of the greatest, pretty much of all-time," said Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp. "And he's still in the game and still fairly young. You come to expect those things from him."
In fact, no active AL player has won the Player of the Week Award more times than Ramirez.
His latest, the 15th in the 35-year-old's remarkable big league career, came after a week in which Ramirez hit .393 with four doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. It all added up to send a clear message: Ramirez is officially back.
Earlier this season, the 11-time All-Star had trouble rediscovering his power stroke. Ramirez entered the All-Star break hitting .284 with just 11 homers and 45 RBIs.
"I think he knew he was uncomfortable," Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He was worried about where his hands were, things like that. He still has the ability to get hits, even when he's not comfortable. When he gets comfortable, he has a chance to be Manny."
Well, hello, Manny. Ramirez is hitting .388 with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 18 games since the All-Star break.
No day better encapsulated Ramirez's renewed dominance than Thursday. Ramirez, after starting his night off by rocketing a Cliff Lee fastball onto the second level of Jacobs Field's center-field shrubbery, finished with a pair of homers, four RBIs and four runs scored.
"Everybody was getting excited about that," Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena said. "They had me laughing about it. It was unbelievable."
Unbelievable, but not surprising.
"We've come to expect it," Francona said. "He's kind of set the bar high for himself. That first pitch he swung at [Thursday], that ball went a long way. It's fun to watch."
Also considered for the honor, which is presented by Bank of America, were Seattle's Adrian Beltre (.379, seven doubles, 13 RBIs), Kansas City's Ross Gload (.500, .833 slugging percentage, five doubles), Detroit's Curtis Granderson (.750 slugging percentage, two doubles, a triple, three homers) and Oakland's Mike Piazza (.429, two doubles, two homers, 10 RBIs).
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less