Athletics

Ramirez: 'The more I play the better I get'

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Ramirez: 'The more I play the better I get'

Before the game Manny Ramirez walked out of the clubhouse, wrapped myself and another reporter in his arms and dragged us down the tunnel. He said "Let's go!" And we did, peppering him with questions for five minutes. Here is the transcript.Thank you very much for taking the time. How do you feel?Manny Ramirez: I feel great, like I've been telling everybody this is like spring training for me. Having been playing for the whole year I was in extended spring facing each other. I feel good, the more I play the better I get.Anything particular you are working on at the plate?Manny Ramirez: The more pitches I see, that's why I am taking a lot of breaking balls and fastballs. Because the more pitches I see, the more better I get.How has your approach progressed? Manny Ramirez: Remember I have only played in eight games, I missed a year. I am just being patient to myself. How close are you to being ready?Manny Ramirez: It's going to take time, but I am getting there slowly, the only way you going to get there is going in there and facing pitchers, you know getting yourself out. Something is going to click and then you are there.Do you feel like you have gotten noticeably better from the first inning you played with these guys and today?Manny Ramirez: Like I said, I haven't played in a year so, you miss a year and its going to take a lot. You see a lot of guys in the big leagues or in here, that they played a whole year. So imagine missing a year.Is it refreshing to come back to the minor leagues? Out of the spotlight? Manny Ramirez: Well this is the time for you to work. You going to work on something, this is the time here in extended spring. This is where you just see it to get your start. Forget about what everyone is expecting, just concentrate on what you need to do. Do you feel like you've seen enough pitches at this point? Manny Ramirez: I have got to keep seeing them, I have only played eight games. Guys in the big leagues they played how many games 50 almost? And some people are still just trying to get their timing. Imagine if you've only got eight games. Are you just looking for that first extra base hit? Manny Ramirez: No, I am just looking for the feeling. I take one day off, I get rusty, you take a year off.

If the A's make the call, are you going to be ready on May 30? Manny Ramirez: I am going to go give my best. Why not? That's all you can do is go try. God gave me this talent and I still have it. On Friday you said all pitches are still giving you trouble, Are you getting used to seeing all pitches? Manny Ramirez: I'm just going out there and swinging and getting my rhythm, have fun and enjoy the game like I always do and move on.How tough was last year, just missing the game and missing your routine and all of that?Manny Ramirez: You do something for 19 years and you don't have it, you are going to miss it. But God gave it to me back. And everyday it doesn't matter if it is good or bad, I am just going to enjoy myself. Is that the main reason you decided to come back?Manny Ramirez: I love the game, and I know I can play. Like I said, people said when are you going to come back I miss you? So I decided to make a run for it.Do you feel like you have a chip on your shoulder? Manny Ramirez: Why not? God gave me the talent. I am just going to go and enjoy it. And trust myself. This is a time for me to work. This is a time if I want to hit with two strikes, if I want to swing 3-0, this is the time to do it. Because once you come up everything changes. Why not? You are going to practice something practice it here when it doesn't count. How do you feel you can help the A's? Manny Ramirez: I'm just going to do my job.Do you enjoy working with minor league guys? Being a teacher? Manny Ramirez: I'm not a teacher. Most of them have done time in the big leagues. They know what to do. We just go and have fun.

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

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USATSI

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

C.C. Sabathia couldn't save the Yankees' 2017 season. And now he has a decision to make.

After nine seasons in New York, the 37-year-old hits the free agent market this winter.

With career earnings nearing $250 million and a 2009 World Series ring already on his resume, would the Vallejo-native consider coming home to play for the A's? That's a question that was posed to NBCSportsBayArea.com Insider Joe Stiglich last week.

While it's a possibility, based on comments after Saturday's ALCS Game 7 loss to the Astros, it sounds like Sabathia doesn't want to leave The Bronx.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great. This is my home, and I want to see this thing through," Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

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USATSI

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.