Hanley Ramirez: 'I want to be a Dodger for life'

Jeff Gross

Ramirez will be a free agent after the 2014 season.

GLENDALE -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez reported to camp at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday, one day ahead of schedule. He didn't want to talk about a potential contract extension, but did express a desire to remain in Los Angeles.

"What can I say? I don't think about that right now. I want to win, man," Ramirez said. "This thing will take care of itself. There's nothing I can do about it right now. I want to be a Dodger for life."

Ramirez, 30, will make $16 million in 2014, the final season of a six-year contract signed with the Marlins in 2008. He will be a free agent after the season.

In an offseason that has seen the Dodgers extend the contracts of their other two big potential free agents - Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly - Ramirez is logically next in line. Ramirez told ESPN Deportes in November that his agent Adam Katz had preliminary discussions with the Dodgers on a long-term extension, but when pressed on Wednesday declined to address the topic any further.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm a baseball player, Ramirez said. "I'm here to play baseball."

The Dodgers hope for a continuation of 2013 from Ramirez in 2014, but more of it. He hit an astonishing .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs and 25 doubles, but was limited to 86 games thanks to various injuries, including a dislocated thumb, a hamstring strain, and an irritated nerve in his back.

In his first postseason series, Ramirez hit .500 (8-for-16) against the Braves in the NLDS and tied a Dodgers record with six extra-base hits in a series. But in his first plate appearance of Game 1, a fastball from Joe Kelly broke two ribs and essentially eliminated Ramirez the rest of the way (he was 2-for-15 with three walks playing hurt).

Ramirez said thinking about the hit by pitch in the NLCS bothers him "even right now, but what are you going to do? You've got to clean your head. It's 2014 now, I'm with a group of guys that want to win."

Adrian Gonzlaez, who also reported to camp on Wednesday, agreed.

"If he's healthy all the way, it definitely changes everything," Gonzalez said. "I think it was one of the big keys to us losing the series."

Ramirez said he needed the offseason to rest and let the broken ribs heal, and that he has received therapy every day on his back, and continues to do exercises to try to prevent the irritation.

"That was my goal, to let my body heal, don't do anything for a certain time. I think my body needed it," Ramirez said. "I feel stronger. I just have to stay on top of it, keeping up my exercises, and I'm going to be fine. I can feel the difference right away. Now it feels great.

"All I can control is stay in shape and do the best I can to stay on the field."

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