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09/03/08 11:00 PM ET
Manny earns NL honors for August
First month in new league an easy transition for slugger
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers knew they had pulled off a blockbuster for one of the best hitters in the game when they traded for Manny Ramirez minutes before the July 31 Trade Deadline, but few could have predicted quite the impact he would have. Ramirez, acquired by the Dodgers in a three-team deal involving the Red Sox and Pirates, made such a splash in his first month with the Dodgers he was named the Sharp Presents the National League Player of the Month for August. The left fielder hit .415 (44-for-106) with seven doubles, nine home runs, 25 RBIs and 21 runs scored during the month. He led the National League in batting average, ranked second in hits, tied for second in homers and tied for third in RBIs. "He's pretty consistent," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "Being in the same clubhouse with him, you just watch why he's been pretty consistent. He's got a great work ethic, as far as his preparation, and I think it's good for the young players to see what he does. "I know there's a lot of colorful anecdotes about him and whatnot, but when it comes to the work stuff, he's all business. That's what I've seen, and I don't think he could just create this overnight and have it happen." The right-handed slugger hit safely in 24 of 29 games. He collected multiple hits 12 times, three hits twice and four hits three times, including back-to-back four-hit games Aug. 29-30 in crucial contests at first-place Arizona, the first time he has done that in his career. The 12-time All-Star homered in consecutive games Aug. 2-3 against Arizona and Aug. 6-7 in St. Louis. He also recorded the 51st multihomer game of his career on Aug. 30 at Arizona, a game in which he also hit the 500th double of his career. "He's a 5-A player," catcher Russell Martin said after the Aug. 30 game. "You've got 4-A players [between Triple-A and the Major Leagues]. He's 5-A -- in his own category. What goes unnoticed is the work that goes into it. He gets up early, works out on his own. He doesn't tell anybody about it, but he goes about his business and works hard. It's not a fluke. There's a reason he's as good as he is." Ramirez recorded 10 multi-RBI games during the month, including eight two-RBI contests and two with three RBIs. The slugger has now won the monthly honor five times in his career for three different teams (May 1995 and April 1999 with Cleveland, April 2001 and September 2002 with Boston). Ramirez's April 2001 award came in his first month with the Red Sox. "I've seen him when he gets that motivation, and usually the Yankees brought out the best in him," Torre said. "He never gives away an at-bat. It's pretty impressive, the stuff that he's been doing for years. He takes his work pretty serious." Ramirez's impact in August extended beyond the stat sheet, as he has loosened up and energized his teammates and worked the fans into a frenzy during every at-bat. "When we added him, just L.A. and all the fans, and you just felt the excitement in the air," pitcher Chad Billingsley said the weekend after his acquisition. "It gives us a spark. That's what it'll take to maybe get us deep into the playoffs, so obviously having him in the lineup changes how the opposing teams approach us. He just makes us better all around." For winning the award, Sharp will present Ramirez with a 52" AQUOS high-definition television. He will also receive a specially designed trophy. Other players receiving votes were Ty Wigginton (.379, 12 homers, 26 RBIs) of the Astros; Albert Pujols (.398, eight homers, 22 RBIs) of the Cardinals; Mike Cameron (.360, nine homers, 22 RBIs) of the Brewers; Mark DeRosa (.378, seven homers, 24 RBIs) of the Cubs; and Martin Prado (.432, 32 hits, nine doubles) of the Braves.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.