Reporting from Phoenix — With a bat in his hand and a smirk on his face, Manny Ramirez walked across the Dodgers' clubhouse on Tuesday to interrupt a conversation.
"Listen," he said as he made a half-hearted attempt to suppress a giggle. "I want you to tell everyone that I felt so good practicing yesterday that I'm going to play five more years."
Three in the majors and two in Japan, he said, still laughing.
Ramirez made headlines the previous day when he predicted the upcoming season would be his last with the Dodgers -- and, perhaps, in baseball.
Manager Joe Torre said he wasn't surprised that Ramirez's comments made the waves they did.
Asked why he thought Ramirez said what he said about this being his last year with the Dodgers, Torre replied, "I don't know. It doesn't surprise me. I think he likes to play a little bit too. All those years in Boston, you try not to take yourself too seriously. But he certainly is a fun-loving guy and he's certainly in a good frame of mind right now. I don't see someone who's thinking about the drudgery of the season right now."
Manny is thankful
Ramirez tried to make the case that he was being honest when he said he wasn't frustrated by his poor performance last season.
"Whether the season is good or bad, you have to give thanks to God," he said. "You have to be thankful that you have a job. Think about all of the things that are happening in the world. There are people who say, 'I don't have Gucci shoes.' But I say to them, 'You have feet. Be thankful because there are people who are worse off than you.' "
Jeff Weaver appeared particularly fidgety as he sat in front of his locker.
"I'm anxious," he said.
Weaver's wife, Jillian, was scheduledto be induced into labor on Tuesday night to give birth to the couple's first child, a boy.
Weaver said he was grateful that he was smart with the money he made when he was younger. (He has earned close to $40 million in his career.)
Weaver said that because he is financially stable, he was able to sign a minor league contract with the Dodgers instead of taking one of the guaranteed major league deals he was offered by other clubs.
"I'm comfortable here and we have the chance to win," said Weaver, who grew up in Simi Valley.
Weaver was on a minor league contract with the Dodgers last season when he emerged as a key contributor in their bullpen, posting a 3.65 earned-run average in 28 games as a swingman.
"Hopefully, it will be the same," Weaver said. He then quickly corrected himself.
"Well, not exactly the same," he said, referring to how he didn't make the team out of spring training last year and started the season in triple A. "I won't be putting on a minor league uni anymore."
Unlike last year, Weaver has a say in that decision thanks to a clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent if he isn't on the Dodgers' roster at the end of spring training.
The Dodgers are adding a third game to their Taiwan tour next month, according to Torre. . . . Juan Pierre came over from the White Sox side of the Camelback Ranch complex to chat with Torre and several of his ex-teammates. . . . Players received a letter from Major League Baseball reminding them not to bring guns into the locker room.