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02/01/2011 - 12:59pm
Manny: 'I'm here because I love the game'

Manny Ramirez turned to Johnny Damon as the two arrived for a press conference to be introduced as members of the Rays and offered a simple proclamation: "We're back," grinned Ramirez.

 

Ramirez joined Damon with Tampa Bay, reuniting two players who were teammates with the Red Sox for four seasons from 2002-05 and bringing Ramirez back to the AL East division in which he resided as a member of the Sox from 2001 until he forced his departure via trade in 2008. Ramirez, who had made more than $20 million per season from 2001-10, said that he had no qualms about signing a one-year, $2 million deal with the Rays, suggesting that the opportunity to prove his ability to perform at a high level on a competitive team was his chief motivation in joining Tampa Bay.

 

"I already made my money," Ramirez told reporters. "I'm here because I love the game, I love to compete. It doesn't matter how much you...

02/01/2011 - 12:46pm
Damon on Rays: 'This is my dream team'

Johnny Damon, in his introduction as a new member of the Rays after finalizing a one-year, $5.25 million deal, said that the opportunity to play for Tampa Bay represented a long-awaited outcome. Damon grew up in nearby Orlando, and so the 37-year-old -- who played in 145 games in 2010 for the Tigers while hitting .271 with a .355 OBP, .401 slugging mark and .756 OPS -- viewed the opportunity for a homecoming as an opportunity that could not be turned down.

 

"This is my dream team," Damon told reporters at the press conference to introduce him and Manny Ramirez as the newest Rays. "I'll see much more of my family and friends. I love this opportunity to come back home and hopefully help this team win a championship."

 

Damon said that he views the Rays -- who won the AL East in 2010 -- as capable of competing in the division this year. He also said that he does not view this season as the "final...

02/01/2011 - 12:41pm
Youkilis clarifies: 'Jacoby's a good guy'
By: DJ Bean

In his appearance on Dale and Holley Tuesday, Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis clarified his stance on outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Limited to 18 games last season, Ellsbury spent much of the campaign in Arizona rehabbing, and not with the team. Youkilis had said in June that "there's a lot of guys here that are hurt and supporting the team. We wish Jacoby was here supporting us, too."

 

The third baseman noted Tuesday that he wasn't questioning Ellsbury's rib injury, but more expressing disappointment that the outfielder didn't stick around to encourage his teammates. 

 

"What I did there was -- and I still have this feeling, and I'll say it about anyone on the team -- I think you should be with your team, because there's a lot of things that happen," Youkilis said. "I think there's a case right now that we're hearing with the Green Bay Packers players. They had guys that were going home and...

02/01/2011 - 12:19pm
Youkilis: 'I've always been a third baseman'
By: DJ Bean

Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis joined Dale and Holley on Tuesday to discuss his offseason and his return to third base. Given the team's acquisition of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in December, Youkilis, who won a Gold Glove at first in 2007, will be going back to the position with which he is most familiar. 

 

Given the team's Youkilis, who became the team's regular first baseman in 2006 after spending much of his minor league career at third base, doesn't think there will be much adjustment when it comes to returning to his old position.

 

"I've always been a third baseman. I've always said I was like Happy Gilmore. He was a hockey player playing golf. I was a third baseman playing first base. That's what I always used to say. 

 

"It's one of those things where you never change what you've got to do. The only thing that is different is that I've thrown a little bit more, just...

02/01/2011 - 8:00am
Mashup: Brady more disliked than Big Ben

According to a poll commissioned by The Hollywood Reporter, Sunday's Super Bowl is headed for record ratings, and while Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the most disliked player in the game, Tom Brady surprisingly ranks higher on the list of most disliked NFL players.

 

The poll indicates that 78 percent of Americans plan to watch the game, which would be a 5 percent hike from last year, and more are cheering for the Packers (45 percent to 39 percent). As for the league's most disliked players, Brett Favre is No. 1, Michael Vick No. 2, Brady No. 3 and Roethlisberger No. 4.

 

For more on that poll, plus an NHL poll ranking the teams players least want to play for, check out Tuesday's Morning Mashup.


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