LOS ANGELES - Charlie Manuel understood what "Manny being Manny" meant long before most.
Manuel managed Manny Ramirez at triple A in 1993. Then, he was hitting coach and manager for the Cleveland Indians during Ramirez's six full seasons there.
"The more money he got, the more he hit, the more they let him be Manny," the Phillies' manager said.
On Monday, Ramirez wasn't playing against the Phillies as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Instead, he was en route to Cleveland to join the Chicago White Sox for a pennant-race boost.
Ramirez's final act as a Dodger was being ejected after seeing just one pitch as a pinch-hitter in Sunday's game against Colorado. Los Angeles let Ramirez go on a waiver claim to Chicago.
"He wasn't playing here," Manuel said. "Everything they did, they did without him. I guess they figured they didn't need him."
In 66 games this season, Ramirez hit .311 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs. He has missed time with a right calf strain.
Last season, Ramirez was 5 for 19 against the Phillies in the National League Championship Series. He had just one home run and two RBIs in five games. The Phils walked him just once, as opposed to seven times in the 2008 NLCS.
"We were trying to crowd him last year," Manuel said.
But Manuel was adamant that Ramirez could still help a team. He'll also be playing for a contract next season. Ramirez, 38, is a free agent.
Manuel always speaks fondly of Ramirez, whom he watched grow into one of the game's best hitters. They had a few quarrels, but Manuel said he always kept a close eye on Ramirez.
"He was young when I had him," Manuel said. "You have to really communicate with him, talk to him a lot every day. He likes to have fun. He likes to joke and kid around. Every now and then, he takes it too far.
"As he's gotten older, Manny became Manny."