Manny: '[I'm] just trying to catch up'

CHICAGO –- Manny Ramirez met the local media Friday and registered one primary gripe regarding his short time with the White Sox.

Considering that he had just four plate appearances from June 30-Aug. 21 because two separate disabled-list stints, and missed a week of action with the Dodgers before he was dealt to the White Sox, Ramirez moved to reduce the expectations he feels have been placed on him.

“I haven’t played in like 50-something games and to come back and being on a team that’s in a pennant race, I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward for tonight,” Ramirez said before the game, one of nearly a half dozen times he made sure to mention how many games he has missed this season.

Ramirez asked if a hitter’s park like U.S. Cellular Field appealed to him.

“Not really. Like I [said], it doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not playing all year around, all those guys on the other side are ready,” he said. “When you haven’t played for so long, you’re just trying to catch up.”

Are you making sure not to press too much with your new team?

“I’m not pressing,” he said. “Everybody knows they’re not expecting a lot out of me because, like I said, I haven’t played in a long time. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you miss like 60 games and you come back and you’re facing all those guys on the other side, those guys are ready, those guys are good. All you can do is go out there and battle.”

Ramirez would obviously like to be able to operate from the underdog role, but it won’t happen. His two months with the Dodgers in 2008, when he carried that team into the playoffs, aren’t a secret to anybody. Fair or not, it’s what people are expecting of Ramirez as he transitions to another team.

“I’m just trying to put the bat on the ball,” Ramirez said, when asked if his attempts to hit to the opposite field are his way of getting his stroke down. “I’m just going there and trying my best. When I was in Cleveland you told me, what kind of impact I was going to have on this team and if I was going to have the same impact as when I was in L.A. And I told you, when I was in Boston I was playing the whole year around and when I was traded it was a different scenario how I wasn’t playing. I came up and I was trying to go out there and have good at-bats.”