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Time for Manny to pass the gravy

Saying he's reached the point in his career where "everything is gravy," Manny Ramirez shrugged off the worst funk of his Dodgers tenure.

The left fielder was hitting .167 with no runs batted in over his last 10 games before the Dodgers played the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. But the only numbers that mattered to Ramirez are the ones he's posted over his 17-year career.

"I'm one of the best hitters out there, so why should I worry?" said Ramirez, whose 538 homers rank 15th on baseball's all-time list. "We've got two more months and if not, I'll come back next season and try again. I've got nothing to prove.

"I've already accomplished a lot. So I just go play the game and move on. I don't have to put it in my mind to try to do a lot because how many more years can I play? Three? Four? Who knows?

"Maybe you worry too much when you're young and you're trying to get that big contract and you're trying to have a good year and don't do this and don't do that. Now, in my career, everything is gravy."

Not that Ramirez doesn't want to excel.

"Everybody wants to be good," he said. "Everybody wants to step to home plate and make it happen.... But I'm not going to worry about my numbers anymore."

Ramirez acknowledged that he was swinging at bad pitches recently but said the bruised left hand he suffered late last month was not bothering him. Manager Joe Torre said he thought Ramirez had lost "a little of his patience lately."

With the Dodgers comfortably in first place in the National League West, Ramirez predicted things would be different in October.

"I'm pretty sure I'll be ready because in the playoffs it's my time," he said, laughing.

-- Ben Bolch

 
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