Manny heading to Taiwan with Dodgers
Star agrees to join team for series of exhibitions this month
PHOENIX -- Manny Ramirez is going to Taiwan.Ramirez will make the trip with the Dodgers for a three-game goodwill series later this month against an All-Star team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League. When asked if he wanted to talk about the decision on Tuesday before the Dodgers worked out at Camelback Ranch, Ramirez said simply: "No, thank you, sir," and turned his back. Manager Joe Torre, driving a golf court out toward the fields, said Ramirez will be taking the trip. The games are scheduled for March 12, 13 and 14 with a Dodgers split-squad remaining back in Arizona to continue play in the Cactus League. The Dodgers intend to bring 33 players to Taiwan, the club announced Tuesday, including Ramirez, who has several endorsement deals in place when he gets there. Ramirez's participation in the goodwill event took on a soap-opera quality over the past week as he flip-flopped from going to not going. "I've asked him if he's going and he said, 'yes,' " Torre said. "That's his choice, not ours. He was fine about it. Nobody is forcing him to go." Several Dodgers officials were so concerned Ramirez might change his mind that they contemplated not releasing the roster this early. But representatives of Scott Boras, Ramirez's agent, "informed us that he intends to make the trip," said Josh Rawitch, a Dodgers spokesman. "We fully expect him to take the trip." Torre will lead the group that includes Taiwan natives pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo and middle infielder Chin-lung Hu. "I'm always glad to go home," said Kuo, who was member of Chinese-Taipei team along with Hu in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. "It will be great again to be playing in front of my country and family." The roster also boasts first baseman James Loney, second baseman Ronnie Belliard, pitcher Eric Stults, Japan native Robert Boothe and South Korea native Hyang-Nam Choi. The rest of the roster, which is subject to change before the March 10 departure, consists mostly of young players and non-roster invitees. This will be the Dodgers' second trip to Taiwan. They became the first Major League team to play in Taiwan in 1993, when they competed against a team of CPBL All-Stars. They also played two exhibition games against the Padres in Beijing two springs ago a few months before the 2008 Summer Olympics. "I'm looking forward to the experience," Torre said. "The players will have a good time. It's obviously something that will be a quick trip. We will get there, play three games and get right back here. It's going to be interesting. "It's early enough. However tired you're going to be, you're going to be able to get through it. Toward the end of Spring Training it would be a lot tougher." The complete roster is: Pitchers (15): Mario Alvarez, Alberto Bastardo, Boothe, Jesus Castillo, Choi, John Ely, Francisco Felix, Charlie Haeger, Kenley Jansen, Kuo, Josh Lindblom, Jon Link, Juan Perez, Stults and Josh Towers. Catchers (4): J.D. Closser, Gabriel Gutierrez, Lucas May, Jesse Mier. Infielders (8): Belliard, Angel Berroa, Jamey Carroll, Hu, John Lindsey, Loney, Russ Mitchell and Ramon Nivar. Outfielders (6): Brian Barton, Xavier Paul, Ramirez, Prentice Redman, Michael Restovich and Trayvon Robinson.