Manny Ramirez sets sights on at least 6 more years, 600 homers Print
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Friday, 21 March 2008 17:17
MLB Headline News

 TOKYO (AP) -Six more years and 600 homers.
Maybe even more of both.
Manny Ramirez sat in a cramped clubhouse on his third visit to Japan to play baseball far from Fenway Park. There, in the stadium known as the Big Egg, he casually revealed his goals before the Red Sox exhibition game Saturday against the Hanshin Tigers.
``I'm going to get to 600,'' he said. ``Why not? The sky's the limit.''
Boston's slugger begins the season Tuesday against the Oakland A's at the Tokyo Dome with 490 homers, 26th most in history. With 30 homers this year, he likely would move up to the 20th spot. And with 31, he would tie Ted Williams, another great slugging left fielder for the Red Sox, and Willie McCovey with 521.
Ramirez is coming off a subpar season with 20 homers, 88 RBIs and a .296 batting average. But in Boston's postseason march to its second World Series championship in four years, he hit. 348 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 14 games
``We've come to expect a lot from him. It's unfair because we expect him to be slump-proof,'' manager Terry Francona said before Saturday's game. ``It's probably why he's one of the greatest hitters ever to play this game.''
He even could make it way beyond 600 homers if he averages 30 for each of the next six seasons.
``So say 700,'' Ramirez said.
He is in the last year of his $160 million, eight-year contract. The Red Sox have options to extend that in 2009 and 2010. Ramirez is confident they will - and that they'll sign him to a four-year deal after that, which would keep him with the team through age 42.
``I know what lays ahead,'' he said. ``It's going to be six years. I'm going to finish my career here.''
He wouldn't rule out playing beyond that.
``I feel like a baby now,'' he said.
Ramirez played in Japan in 1998 and 2004 with major league all-star teams. Now he's here with the Red Sox for two exhibition games against Japanese teams then the first two games of the regular season against Oakland.
Boston has one day off on Monday.
``I'll probably go out and look around,'' Ramirez said. ``I like to walk around the city. You know, take some pictures, good memories.''
He'd like to give fans in this baseball-loving nation something to remember him by.
``It's great. That's why we're here,'' he said. ``A bunch of people that don't get to see us all the time, they're going to see us here in person and they're going to love it. They're going to enjoy it. Baseball's been here for 100 years.''
 

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