11/19/08 8:26 PM EST
Ramirez 'ecstatic' to join Red Sox
Newly acquired reliever recalls electricity at Fenway Park
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"I was discussing the very same thing with my father a little while ago -- how, when I first got out there, you felt the history of the stadium," Ramirez said through interpreter Eddie Romero. "It was packed."
Acquired from the Royals in a trade for Coco Crisp, Ramirez thinks back to that night in May -- a scoreless inning of work -- and envisions what will become commonplace.
"You have all these fans there. It was like a Major League moment," Ramirez said. "You look around and you're at Fenway and you recall the level of players that have played on this field. It was really something that caused a great amount of joy. A very proud moment for me."
And now that the right-handed reliever is a member of the Boston Red Sox?
"I couldn't be happier right now. I'm ecstatic," Ramirez said.
Ramirez, who is 27 years old, should become a vital member of the Boston bullpen.
Backed by his changeup, which has the action of a splitter, Ramirez became a force for the Royals in 2008, evolving into their eighth-inning setup man. He posted a 2.64 ERA, striking out 70 over 71 2/3 innings.
The Fenway faithful should become very familiar with Ramirez's split-change in 2009.
"I've been working on the pitch for about three years now and really, the combination with improved fastball command has allowed me to have more success with it," Ramirez said. "It's become a better pitch as I've improved my fastball command and I've gotten healthier. That's what's allowed it to become a plus pitch. Obviously it's one of my better pitches."
Last year, Ramirez made his nasty offerings for the Royals, deprived of the opportunity to pitch in a pennant race.
"I think it's a new experience for me to be able to be on a contending club," Ramirez said. "I know that Boston is going to be in it this upcoming season and that they have been the past couple of years. It's just an exciting opportunity to be able to be on a winning club."
How will Ramirez fit into a Boston bullpen which also includes Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima and perhaps Justin Masterson?
"It doesn't matter what inning it is, that's for the team to decide," Ramirez said. "It's not up to me. I'll do whatever they want me to do. As far as my demeanor, I like being aggressive. I like attacking the strike zone, it doesn't matter what the count or what situation I'm being brought into. I just want to be as aggressive as possible and go right after hitters."
That type of mentality will suit him well in Boston, a place which can carve up a player not accustomed to the pressure.
"Other players have discussed those type of things," Ramirez said. "But I feel aside from the pressure, it's a great place to play. The fans give the team so much support. I'm human, sometimes you do feel some pressure. But I'm just going to go out there and give 200 percent of what I can for the team and do what I can to ignore that pressure. I don't think it will be an issue."
What kind of pitcher did the Red Sox acquire for Crisp?
"He's a pitcher that stays on the attack with his fastball," said Royals general manager Dayton Moore. "He's got a very good changeup and he commands the down-and-away strike very good, with power. He fields his position well, has some deception. He's a very poised person, an extremely confident person, a very diligent worker. In fact, our people felt he might be a closer sometime in his career."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.