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Manny re-ups for 18 games vs. Padres

NL West tougher with Manny, Padres say

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- The sight of Manny Ramirez in a Dodgers' uniform doesn't sit too well with the Padres, who saw enough of the Los Angeles slugger in nine meetings a year ago.

Manny Ramirez

"The guy is one of the best hitters in the game," Padres left fielder Chase Headley said on Wednesday. "There aren't too many guys who make PETCO look small. But he hit a few balls where not that many people have hit them."

On the day Ramirez and the Dodgers agreed upon a two-year contract worth $45 million, the Padres were enjoying their first off-day of the spring, though word of his deal made the rounds among players.

Especially the players who were around last September, when Ramirez feasted on Padres pitching.

It wasn't so much that Ramirez hit .276 in the nine games -- seven victories -- but what he did with the nine hits, clubbing five home runs to go with 14 RBIs. He drove in more runs against San Diego than any other team.

And did we mention he had an .828 slugging percentage in those games?

"He makes it tough on you," Padres catcher Nick Hundley said. "He is patient enough to wait for a mistake and confident enough to know he's going to get one. He's not going to chase a whole lot of pitches. And when he gets that pitch, he's going to punish it."

The Padres will see Ramirez 18 times this season, starting on April 6 on Opening Day at PETCO Park.

Ramirez, who hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games with Los Angeles a year ago, hit two home runs at pitcher-friendly PETCO Park on Sept. 10, both going to right-center field, a place seldom visited by hitters.

"They were right in the middle of a playoff hunt and he seemed to bring a lot of energy to that team," Headley said. "I think he was why they were able to finish off the division.

"He's one of the best players in the league. But we can't do anything about it. I think that it will help the Dodgers out. On paper, they look a lot stronger than they did."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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