SAN FRANCISCO -- A big reason for Hanley Ramirez's smooth transition to his new club is the presence of Dodgers coach Manny Mota, whom, Ramirez said, he's known since he was "a little boy."
Mota, now 74 and in his 33rd season on the coaching staff, is still an icon in his native Dominican Republic and remains instrumental when the Dodgers recruit and/or acquire a fellow countryman like Ramirez.
Mota said he has already counseled Ramirez to turn the page from his mercurial stint in Florida and fulfill his potential as the rare five-tool infielder.
"I told him that what happened in the past is the past, this is a new beginning, and all he has to do is play baseball," Mota said. "He's a complete player. And he doesn't have to carry this team. There is Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and now three guys together.
"He told me he's proud to be a Dodger, he knows the organization's history with Latin players and he's going to play hard. But I reminded him not to put pressure on himself. Maybe there was too much pressure on him in Miami. He doesn't have to carry this team. He has come to a good city with good fans and a rare organization. Now, just play hard and have fun."
Mota said he knows that Ramirez is better than the player that has averaged around .250 for the last year and a half.
"A lot of this is just to get his confidence back," Mota said. "There's got to be a reason for that [average]. He was 30/30 [homers and stolen bases in 2008]. But he hasn't developed the potential he has yet.
"He has the tools and talent to be one of the best players in the game, a five-tool guy at shortstop. It's hard to think of somebody like that with the combination of skills he has. He seems relaxed, loose, happy, and we just have to get his confidence back and he can be important to this club in a lot of ways."