Editor's Note: ESPNdeportes.com senior writer Enrique Rojas sat down with Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez before Thursday's game at Yankee Stadium. Here's a transcript of the interview:
Enrique Rojas: What does it mean to hit 500 home runs?
Manny Ramirez: I feel very proud of being in the 500 club. My goal now is to keep moving forward and have a World Series repeat.
ER: How many home runs do you want to hit in your career?
MR: I couldn't tell you. The most important thing is staying healthy, because you never know when the injuries will arise. My objective is to stay healthy. And if I do that for five or six years, who knows where I could end up?
ER: It's July and Boston still hasn't said what will happen with your contract (Manny will be a free agent after this season if the Red Sox do not exercise a $20 million club option). Are you worried about that situation?
MR: Like I said during spring training, I'm in a very good position. If they don't exercise the option, I think I could play for another team for four or five more years. My situation is good.
ER: Is it a win-win situation?
MR: Exactly. I'm not worried. Everything is going well. I am on a winning team.
ER: Tell me your version in regards to the incident with the Boston Red Sox employee (Manny reportedly shoved Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground in Houston after McCormick told Ramirez that he might not be able to come up with the 16 tickets the player requested for last Saturday night's game).
MR: (Laughs.) It was a misunderstanding between him and me, but thank God we dealt with it behind closed doors. He will always be my friend and thank God everything worked out.
ER: You are the Yankees' nemesis. Do you feel more comfortable [in New York], where you grew up?
MR: I think it's the support of my friends and the positive energy that all those Yankee greats are sending my way. That's it.
ER: And what if Boston doesn't exercise its contract option. [Let's say] you declare for free agency and the Yankees make the first offer. What then?
MR: You know I'm an employee, and I will go to any factory that needs me.
ER: Have you ever dreamed of playing for the Yankees?
MR: Like I've said, not like a dream. I've never thought about it because I've had a great career in Boston and my dream is to finish my career [with the Red Sox], but they are holding the option, not me. We'll see what they decide.
ER: What has been the effect of David Ortiz's absence in the lineup?
MR: When David hurt his wrist, J.D. Drew came in and he did a great job. But we always need David because of his energy, his jokes. He is a premier bat and he always keeps us relaxed, which is the key to the game.
ER: Relaxed -- is that your way of life in general?
MR: You have to live life minute by minute, day by day. I thank God for my health, for having my parents alive and all the other things.