Martin: Manny better than advertised

Martin: Manny better than advertised

When Manny Ramirez first joined our team, I didn't know what to expect. I knew he was a guy who liked to have fun, and I knew he was one of the game's best hitters. Now that I've been around him for a few weeks, I can tell you that he's coming up very big in both of those areas. It's an understatement to say he's been a huge addition to our team.

On the field, Manny is one of the best hitters I've ever seen and he's probably one of the best hitters of all time. But there's a reason he's that good, which is probably the most significant thing I've learned about him since he arrived. Manny has an incredible work ethic and dedication to the game. People don't seem to know that about him. He really cares about his craft.

Manny takes a solid approach. He has a routine in which he wakes up early and comes to the park early. He's pretty much the first guy here. He takes a lot of time on his swing, working in the cage. It's his daily routine, and he doesn't vary it. He's consistent, whether he goes 0-for-5 one day or 5-for-5 the next day. He has a plan at the plate and he lives and he dies with that plan. Beyond his natural ability, that's what I think makes him so good.

Off the field, he's always smiling. It's a long season, and there are ups and downs, so it's great to have that positive outlook every day in our clubhouse. He has that attitude whether we lose or win. It's an encouraging thing to see coming from someone of his stature. Every day he is the same guy and he's always positive. It's a good influence on a team, because it's important to stay level-headed and not live and die with every at-bat at this high level. Manny is a pleasure to have on our club in that regard, too.

I'm convinced. Manny's been such a great addition that I'm already hoping he comes back to our team next year.

All-Star catcher Russell Martin has been a teammate of future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez since the Dodgers and Red Sox completed the blockbuster trade prior to the trade deadline. With Los Angeles, Ramirez has hit a staggering .401 with 14 homers and 44 RBIs in just 43 games and 157 at-bats.