Manny Ramirez insists he's a new man, ready for chance with Cubs

Manny Ramirez insists he's a new man, ready for chance with Cubs
May 28, 2014, 11:45 pm
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Tony Andracki

The Manny Ramirez experiment could blow up in the Cubs' face, but for what it's worth, he's saying all the right things at the moment.

Ramirez was in Boston Wednesday for the reunion with the magical 2004 Red Sox team and threw out the first pitch (before Johnny Damon channeled his inner Manny and hilariously intercepted Ramirez's lob toward home plate).

Boston was where Theo Epstein and Ramirez first worked together, where "Manny being Manny" was first coined. Now, the two are together again with a goal of getting the Cubs' top prospects to the next level.

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"Mannywood" is taking a trip to Des Moines, Iowa.

"I've been in church now for almost four years - me and my wife," Ramirez told reporters at Fenway Park Wednesday. "I realized that I behaved bad in Boston. The fans were great and I also played great while I was here, but I really realized that I behaved bad and I apologize for that.

"But I'm a new man. That's what Jesus said and that's what I believe."

In his last few years with the Red Sox, Ramirez made as much news for his off-field antics as he did for his play on the diamond and admitted that he regrets how things ended in Boston, though he wasn't surprised when Epstein came calling.

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"It felt great the way everything turned out," Ramirez said. "Just for him to think of me that I can go out there to help those young guys is a blessing.

"I'm looking forward to that. That's a blessing from God because I can go over there and give those kids my testimony, what to do in the field and what not to do off the field. It's going to be a blast. We're going to have fun out there."

Ramirez spent time in the Texas Rangers system last season and in the Oakland A's system the year before that, but the 41-year-old had been out of baseball until Epstein picked up the phone.

"It's the game that I love," Ramirez said. "I belong in the game. When you can help out young people and give out advice, ... it's good to give it to the young players."

[MORE: Cubs say they vetted Manny's PED past before hire]

Ramirez knows he won't be heading to Triple-A Iowa to try to reignite his stalled playing career, understanding he won't be taking any at-bats from the prospects and will act more as a mentor than an outfielder.

"I know my role over there," he said.