Lowe excited for reunion with Manny
Dodgers hurler effusive in praise of former Red Sox teammate
LOS ANGELES -- Hours before taking the mound for his showdown with the Diamondbacks, Dodgers starter Derek Lowe learned he was being reunited with former Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez.
Starting pitchers don't like to talk on days they pitch except, apparently, when they've just learned a future Hall of Fame slugger has just joined the team.
"Perfect move at the perfect time," said Lowe, who played with Ramirez in Boston before signing with the Dodgers four years ago. "We're at .500, but all of a sudden we've added a difference maker."
Lowe reflects the mood of the Dodgers' clubhouse. Deflated after the club backed out of a CC Sabathia deal, demoralized after the Angels landed Mark Teixeira, the Dodgers were energized by the thought of a feared bat appearing in the middle of a struggling offense.
Lowe wasn't disappointed that the trade wasn't made in time for Ramirez to be in the lineup for his Thursday night start against Arizona.
"But I'd be mad if he wasn't coming at all," the pitcher said.
Nobody appreciates the addition of Ramirez more than Lowe, and not just because he's been victimized the most this year by a lack of offensive support (the Dodgers have scored nine runs in his eight losses). Lowe predicts more runs on the scoreboard and more fans in the seats at Dodger Stadium.
"They say he's just Manny being Manny, but when he comes to the plate, you know who's coming up," said Lowe. "There's a different intensity, a different level. Very few players catch your attention like Manny can. It's the greatest addition since I've been here."
Lowe dismissed criticisms of Ramirez, from his work ethic to his defense ("He has his moments") to his personality.
"Day in and day out, it's his consistency that you appreciate when you see him," said Lowe. "He's the greatest right-handed hitter I've ever seen, a real pro. His preparation is unbelievable, but people don't see that. They don't see him watching video, how he works out at a local gym at 7 in the morning. He does it for him, not to change people's perception of him. He has a plan that makes him a great hitter. It's not an accident. You have to respect him for that. He could talk about what he does, but that's not what he is.
"He's an outstanding teammate, as good as any, and I can honestly say that. When you see him every day and appreciate what he does, it's amazing to compare with his reputation and what he really is like. It's almost night and day."
Lowe issued one warning about the acquisition of Ramirez, aimed at the rest of his club.
"The last thing you want is to get Manny and think that now we've won," Lowe said. "We can't say we don't have to keep playing the way we've been playing lately. We can't think he's going to win every game by himself. He'll go 0-for-4. Of course, there will be a lot of games he'll win single-handedly."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.