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Ramirez praises Angels for Pujols

MIAMI -- Manny Ramirez, one of Major League Baseball's best right-handed hitters ever, praised the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday for having signed fellow Dominican Albert Pujols, whom he considers to be the best of all time.

"He deserves that contract; he is the best slugger in history. The numbers speak for themselves," Ramirez said during an interview with ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com.

"He will continue to be Albert. He has his mechanics. He is a great person. He is always helping the community, goes to church with his wife, always focused on what he must do. That's why God continues to bless him."

Pujols, a three-time MVP in 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, was introduced Saturday by the Angels, who signed him for 10 years and $254 million. Pujols has a .328 career average with 445 homers and 1,329 RBIs. He was NL Rookie of the Year in 2001, MVP in 2005, 2008 and 2009, is a six-time Silver Slugger, two-time Gold Glove winner and he has played in nine All-Star games.

"The numbers speak for themselves. I have to be realistic. He is the best," Ramirez said about Pujols.

Ramirez, 39, batted .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays between 1993 and 2011.

Ramirez opted for retirement last April instead of serving a second suspension for the use of banned substances, but he requested reinstatement to try to continue his career.

He played a key role for the Red Sox in winning the 2004 and 2007 World Series championships. He subsequently helped the Dodgers win division titles in 2008 and 2009.

"In Boston I matured; they treated me extremely well. [Terry] Francona is a wonderful manager, who lets his players play in peace. It was a great experience, but I made another bad decision," Ramirez said about the way in which he abandoned Boston and was moved to Los Angeles.

"I went to the Dodgers, where they treated me extremely well. I can't complain."

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.