CLEVELAND -- Those who suggest Manny Ramirez's presence could be a distraction in the White Sox clubhouse during the September playoff push probably haven't paid much attention to the team.
"There are enough personalities in here that are mood-changers, day-changers, night-changers," Mark Kotsay said. "This clubhouse can't be changed."
Even Kotsay, the man whose playing time will likely be most affected by Monday's news, was on board with the Ramirez waiver claim. With a four-game deficit in the American League Central standings staring them in the face, the Sox can hardly be picky about who comes in to help them. At this stage, they just seem to appreciate the help.
"It's a great bat to have," Paul Konerko said before Monday's 10-6 win over the Indians. "That guy can hit. As a teammate, you just try to welcome him into the clubhouse, make him feel as welcome as you can, and hopefully he'll get a steady flow of at-bats here and he'll get comfortable. He's a great hitter, and it can only be a positive thing."
Some have suggested that the "Manny being Manny" antics that have made Ramirez one of the game's most colorful characters could cause problems for the Sox. But he'll hardly be the only colorful character in a South Siders uniform.
"I think I'm the bigger troublemaker," manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters. "Manny doesn't bother anybody. Manny just goes out and plays the game and tries to stay away from the cameras. I can't, because I have to talk with you guys twice a day. I have no escape."
Guillen hopes Ramirez is trouble for opposing pitchers, not his teammates. And he feels Ramirez's presence alone goes a long way.
"Manny can be there with a wheelchair and no bat, and the [opposing] manager will still think about how to pitch him," Guillen said. "He'll help a lot of people to get better."
Omar Vizquel knows Ramirez better than anybody in the clubhouse, having played with him on two World Series teams with the Indians. He said he's looking forward to once again hearing the unique things that come out of Manny's mouth and seeing the productive things he can do with his bat.
"It's always nice to have a guy who can change the outcome of the game with one swing of the bat," Vizquel said. "He's going to be helpful in the lineup, wherever we put him. His ability to hit has always been there. There's no doubt in my mind that he's going to keep everybody loose with his jokes and the way he is."