Sporting a Dodgers cap spun backwards and a t-shirt with the "I See You" hand gesture he created not long after being traded to Los Angeles on July 26, Hanley Ramirez took a seat in the visiting dugout at Marlins Park and started fielding questions about his return to South Florida on Friday.
"It's a wonderful day," he said with a smile. "I'm with my family. I got a chance to spend the whole day with my kids, my wife, in-laws. It was a great."
Is it weird to face the team you were once the face of the franchise for?
"It's going to be a little weird, definitely," he said. "... I was hoping we could play three games in one day and get it over with. But it is what it is. I spent seven years here. It's going to be a little weird playing against guys who were teammates for many years."
How does it feel to be playing for the Dodgers?
"Wonderful," he said. "We're one game behind [in the National League West]. We got 50 something games left. I'm happy, really happy to be here. I have great teammates and they work really hard everyday."
The Marlins were on the field stretching and preparing to take batting practice when Ramirez walked into the Dodgers dugout and answered questions for nearly 10 minutes in both English and Spanish.
When he was finished, Ramirez walked back into the Dodgers clubhouse and returned to the field with his new teammates for stretching. The Marlins were still on the field taking batting practice. They finished and returned to their clubhouse. Assistant Gary Thurman was the only person in a Marlins uniform to come over and shake Ramirez's hand and give him a hug.
Ramirez said he didn't get a chance to speak to his former teammates before the game, but planned to on the field. Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio, the two Marlins closest to Ramirez during his time in Miami, said they hadn't spoken to Ramirez recently and were going to try to leave him alone when he was in town so he could spend time with his family, which remains in Miami.
"I'm giving him some space," Reyes said. "I'll see him on the field."
Ramirez said he speaks to his wife and children on Facetime -- a video chat program on his iPhone -- every night after games. He said he's been nervous driving around Los Angeles because he's afraid he'll got lost. "There are like 15 different highways," he said. "But now, I'm getting a little more comfortable with getting from the hotel to the ballpark."
Ramirez was asked what the biggest change has been for him with the Dodgers.
"My confidence -- I'm not trying to do too many things," he said. "If I do something wrong, I'm not going to disappoint the fans or the team. I have people here that tell me all the time 'Don't try to be the hero. Everything they give you on the field, just take it and take it easy. Everybody here has your back.'"
Asked about the origin for his new team hand gesture 'I See You' and t-shirt, Ramirez smiled.
"When I got to the Dodgers, I did 'Lo Viste' for Bonifacio a couple times and it was cool," Ramirez said. "But then I spoke with Dee Gordon and he said 'Let's do something different. You're no longer in Miami.' That's when we tried to do something new and came up with this. It's all for fun."
Ramirez, who hit .246 for the Marlins with 14 homers and 48 RBI in 93 games this season, is hitting hitting .226 with one home run and 12 RBI in 14 games with the Dodgers.
> Reliever Randy Choate, shipped off to L.A. in the Ramirez deal for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and another minor league pitcher, spent about a half hour in the Marlins clubhouse before Friday's game sharing laughs with just about everyone. At one point, a Marlins rep jokingly asked Choate if he was going to today's pitcher's meeting.
> Bonifacio, who re-injured his thumb in Washington last weekend, said he expects to return to the Marlins as soon as his stint on the disabled list is over. He said he is going to hit off the tee on Saturday.
> Reyes, held out of the Marlins lineup Friday with swelling in his hand, said he will be back in the lineup for the Marlins Saturday.