"Is he on the roster? Yes. The thing is how many games can he play?" said manager Ozzie Guillen when asked about the Cuban émigré before Thursday's first official Cactus League contest against the Dodgers. "We're going to sit down and see how many at-bats he can get. We're talking about that.
"Whether it's at second base or not second base. Everything is about playing time. My thing is, I don't care if this kid sits for 10 days if he's going to help us win.
"Development? I'm not going to develop my players for someone else. I already learned my lesson," Guillen added. "Jeff Torborg developed players [in Florida], and he got [beat up]. Jack McKeon won. To me, development, that's for the Minor League system. You bring the best guys. Me and [general manager] Kenny [Williams] have talked, and we want the best guys at every position."
Barring any sort of unforeseen move, Ramirez appears to be the leading candidate to start at second. Juan Uribe remains in the picture, starting Thursday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, but the waiver situation so heavily reported Wednesday involving Uribe still could play a role in his future.
Guillen said that he spoke on Wednesday with Uribe, who was a little confused by his somewhat precarious status. Guillen explained to his veteran infielder the difference between being released and being put on waivers, making sure that Uribe, above anyone else, knew what was taking place.
"That's all I can do for him," said Guillen. "Juan is a different guy. He's nervous and gets kind of worried about it. I told him, 'You're in the lineup [Thursday], and that's all I can tell you.'
"I don't care what the fans say or [the media] think about it. To me, it's more important that in Uribe's mind it's clear. It's hard to be a player, it's hard to play with that. That's why we explained to him the situation."
Shortly after the news broke on Wednesday, Guillen sent a text message to Williams, and Williams confirmed that Uribe was not being released. But when Guillen was asked whether Uribe would start against the Cubs on Saturday in Mesa, as scheduled, he was a bit more non-committal.
"He will start today," Guillen said. "Right now I don't have any clear information."
Pablo Ozuna actually will get the call at second base for the March 31 opener in Jacobs Field, hitting leadoff against Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia. But whether it's Ozuna, Ramirez or even Uribe playing up the middle on a more regular basis, Guillen doesn't seem worried about the talent to fill this position.
"Right now, I just worry about who is going to be my last guy out of the bullpen," Guillen said. "That's my real concern."