After asking Boston to trade him during the offseason, Manny Ramirez was given permission by the Red Sox to report to spring training on March 1, six days after the club's first full-squad workout and one day after major league baseball's mandatory reporting date.
"Manny is in Florida completing an extensive training regimen and is prepared to have an exceptional season," said a joint statement from Ramirez and the team that was released by the Red Sox on Tuesday.
"There are a lot of factors involved, some of them are personal, some are family related," general manager Theo Epstein said in Fort Myers, Fla. "He assured us that by staying in Miami and continuing to work with his personal trainer, continuing his regimen, that he wouldn't be behind. In the end, after talking to him, we were OK with accommodating him. It's not perfect, but we're going to support him through this."
Position players are due in town today, the day before the first workout. Baseball's collective-bargaining agreement sets the mandatory reporting date as 33 days prior to the major-league opener, which is April 2.
"It happens all the time, guys all over the big leagues show up at different times," Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said. "He'll be ready to play. Manny's one of those guys who if he didn't show up for spring training I'd still know he'd be ready for the season when the season started."
Miguel Tejada, who asked the Orioles to trade him during the offseason, was greeted by his Baltimore teammates one hug at a time in Fort Lauderdale., Fla.
Tejada said he told the Latin players, "I felt really embarrassed, because I'm not that kind of man. I'm not the kind of person that makes some trouble. Everything is over. Everything is straight."
After the two-hour workout, he told reporters, "It's never going to happen again."
In Scottsdale, Ariz., the San Francisco Giants gathered as a full team for the first time this year, with players getting the chance to hit, field, run and throw together as they prepare for the start of the season. There was one notable exception - Barry Bonds was nowhere to be found.
"It's nice to see everybody - not quite everybody," manager Felipe Alou said. "It always feels good when you see all of those guys."
Bonds was a no-show at the first voluntary workout for position players. His agent told the team last week that because of personal issues, Bonds would come a day or two later than his teammates, who showed up Monday.
"To me, he can get here whenever he feels he is ready because whenever he walks into this field he'll perform the way Barry has performed all of the time," Giants outfielder Moises Alou said.
In Tampa, Fla., Gary Sheffield reported to spring training and was upbeat after the New York Yankees said they'd likely keep him around for 2007.
Sheffield is entering the final season of a $39 million, three-year contract, and the Yankees hold a $13 million option for 2007.