Manager Ozzie Guillen said today he expects to have shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who has been benched the last two games, back in his lineup Saturday against the Texas Rangers.
Ramirez, who hadn't spoken to reporters since Guillen announced the benching on Wednesday, says he will be ready.
''I'm always ready,'' Ramirez said through translator Lou Hernandez. ''The people that make decisions made the decision and I'm always going to be ready whatever decision they make.''
Ramirez's usual smile has disappeared in recent days, but he says he has taken the benching in stride.
''It's been OK, it's been good,'' he said. ''I've been able to study and think about what I've been doing and haven't been doing right when I bat. I had some time to get in the batting cage and focus on a couple of little things, but it's actually been pretty good.''
Ramirez, the runner-up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award last season, is hitting .211 with one home run and 11 RBI. Has he been able to figure out what is behind his struggles?
''I have,'' he said, without elaborating. ''The coaches have been good and we've been working on minor details and I know what I have to work on.''
Guillen's biggest complaint has been pitch selection.
''Good at-bats,'' Guillen said. ''[Jim Thome] is struggling right now, but he's giving me good at-bats. He's battling, he's working on it, he's swinging at good pitches. When you miss a ball over your head ... and I talk about myself, because I was a free-swinger, too. If the pitch bounces and you continue to swing at that or if you don't care or you don't have the concentration or you try to be lucky ... . Hopefully, when he comes back, I expect him to swing at bad pitches. I expect him to be aggressive at the plate. But you can't go from [a ball in the dirt] to over your head in back-to-back pitches. That's a lack of concentration.''
Ramirez rebounded from a slow start last season and expects to do the same this year.
''Last year I felt almost worse than I have this year,'' Ramirez said. ''As far as knowing I can do the job, I've never lost that. This year, I'm more relaxed. I feel comfortable and confidence isn't an issue with me so I feel like when I get the opportunity, I'll get it done.''