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Rice, 36, Says He Wants to Be a Complete Player

February 21, 1988|Associated Press

Boston Red Sox slugger Jim Rice, coming off a bad season and surgery on both knees, says he wants to be a complete player and not the American League team's designated hitter.

"I had my shot at DH-ing when I was playing behind Yaz (former Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski), and that's it," Rice said in an interview with the Boston Globe at Red Sox spring training camp in Winter Haven, Fla.

"Got to be a complete ballplayer. I like to go out and play every day. If I'm fine, I'm going to play. If I'm not, I won't play. It's as simple as that," said the 36-year-old Rice.

He said he would not accept the role of designated hitter and that Manager John McNamara had not talked to him about the possibility of having Rice play left field in home games at Fenway Park and be designated hitter on the road.

"I'll wait 'til Mac talks to me and see how I feel at the time," Rice said. "If I feel like I can play, I want to play. If I feel like I can't play, I'll just wait 'til that day happens."

When the possibility of Mike Greenwell or Todd Benzinger replacing him in left field was mentioned, Rice, said, "What can Benzinger and Greenwell do that I can't do?

"What can they do that I haven't done? Didn't nobody give me anything. I earned everything I have."

Rice batted .277 last year, hit 13 homes runs and batted in 62 runs. He said he was injured and that it was the right knee, which was more seriously injured than his left knee, that caused most of his problems.

"That's my back leg, and that's the leg you put your weight on," he said of his right leg. "I knew there was something wrong because I couldn't drive the ball."

Rice's contract, which reportedly paid him more than $2.2 million last year, runs through the 1989 season.

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