FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There are times when Red Sox slugger David Ortiz feels as if he knows Manny Ramirez's swing as well as his own. Not only have they torched opposing pitchers in unison over the past five seasons, but they've helped the process along by scrutinizing each other during those countless sessions in the batting cage.

In other words, Ortiz's opinion on what Ramirez has in store this season is worth listening to.

"He's ready to go this year, I'm telling you," said Ortiz. "You'll see."

Though Ramirez had a fine year by most player's standards in 2007, it was a little underwhelming (.296, 20 homers and 88 RBIs) given his own track record.

Sure, Ramirez will turn 36 on May 30. But in Big Papi's mind, Ramirez is not about to succumb to the aging process. If anything, Ortiz thinks his friend and teammate will get back to those monster years that were so habitual before '07.

"Just from watching him, we learn," said Ortiz. "He's so smooth. The good thing that happens to the two of us is that we know each other pretty good. So when he does something wrong, I'll tell him, and when I do something wrong, he'll do the same thing. That helps us to figure things out, from one at-bat to another."

Even as accomplished a hitter as Ortiz has become, he still finds himself marveling at Ramirez.

"The guy is a machine, man," Ortiz said. "I have learned so much from Manny since I got here, I can't even imagine ... The guy is prepared to play, bro. I don't care what people say. To be at the top of the league as a player doesn't come just because you're sleeping at home. You've got to work to get to it. That's why Manny's numbers have gotten to where they are. He has an amazing routine every day."

In Wednesday's 12-7 win over the Twins, both Ortiz and Ramirez appeared to be in full swing. Ortiz went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Ditto for Ramirez.

"We're not too far away from action, you know what I mean?" said Ortiz.

What he means is that the Red Sox will break camp on March 19, when they fly to Tokyo, Japan, and open their season against the A's on March 25.

The fearsome 3-4 combo for the Red Sox should be ready.

"I think the timing, their clocks, they know," manager Terry Francona said. "You try to get them the proper amount of work. They're pretty good workers."