Sadler gets big boost from Manny
Ramirez helped Giants reliever continue offseason workouts
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants right-hander Billy Sadler feels grateful when he thinks about "Manny being Manny."Due to Manny Ramirez's generosity, Sadler maintained his workout regimen at Athletes' Performance near his offseason home of Pensacola, where the free-agent slugger also trained.
"He really kind of took me under his wing," said Sadler, who's competing for a spot in the Giants' bullpen.As Sadler related Sunday, he introduced himself one day during the offseason at the training facility to Ramirez, who immediately recalled telling Giants left-hander Barry Zito in a Dodger Stadium elevator that "No. 34 has good stuff." Sadler struck out Ramirez in their lone confrontation last year. Sadler was about to quit Athletes' Performance due to a personal financial crunch.
"I'm newly engaged and I made some decisions in my life," Sadler said. He mentioned this to Ramirez, who said, "We'll take care of that."Sadler figured that Ramirez was making an off-handed remark. But three days later he was contacted by an Athletes' Performance representative, who said, "Manny was serious about taking care of you. He wants to bring you in and work out with him." Sadler remains thankful for more than just Ramirez. "I realize that the good Lord really has everything to do with all the experiences I've come through in my life -- for instance, being able to face a great hitter like that in the big leagues," said Sadler. "And then the good Lord put him back in my life in the offseason to train with him and learn some good things about hitters, because he taught me some things and it was a good experience." The Giants are still considered a long shot to sign Ramirez, which somehow makes them the most likely team to secure the left fielder's services besides the Dodgers. Sadler said he didn't lobby Ramirez to sign with San Francisco. Then again, he never had to. "It was funny," Sadler said. "He came in a couple of times and said, 'Billy, I'm going to be a Giant!'"
Known for his playful nature, Ramirez could have been teasing Sadler. Regardless, Sadler shares his teammates' views on Ramirez: The Giants believe Ramirez would be great to have, but they sincerely believe that they can win without him."It would be a cool experience to play with a hitter like that," Sadler said. "But we're excited with the team we have right now."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.