GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Alexei Ramirez asked to make the trip to Camelback Ranch with the Padres' split squad for Sunday's Cactus League matchup with the White Sox, an 8-1 Chicago victory.It was as close of a return to his original baseball home as the former White Sox shorstop will get
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Alexei Ramirez asked to make the trip to Camelback Ranch with the Padres' split squad for Sunday's Cactus League matchup with the White Sox, an 8-1 Chicago victory.
It was as close of a return to his original baseball home as the former White Sox shorstop will get during the 2016 season, barring the two teams reaching the World Series. Ramirez finished 1-for-2 with an infield single and drew supportive applause from fans who appreciated his eight-year tenure on the South Side.
"It was really great," said Ramirez through an interpreter. "Every time I came up to the plate, I could hear them. It was pretty emotional. I have to say thanks to the Chicago White Sox for that.
"There are too many memories to count. There are too many memories to mention. If I had to pick one, it wouldn't do it justice."
The White Sox declined a $10 million option on Ramirez for the '16 season, enacting instead a $1 million buyout. Although they stayed in contact with him after the move, he ended up as the Padres' starting shortstop with a one-year, $4 million deal.
Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier made the greatest impact for the White Sox during the game, with back-to-back homers in the fourth off Padres reliever Cesar Vargas. Chicago lefty starter Carlos Rodon threw three scoreless innings, striking out two, and he retired Ramirez on a groundout to shortstop Jimmy Rollins in the first.
• Abreu, Frazier go back to back
"That was a little different. I forgot," said Rodon of facing Ramirez. "He stepped up and I was like, 'Oh my gosh. There's Alexei.' A little different. It was cool."
"Really emotional. There were eight years of defending with 100 percent energy, eight years of being the first to show up and work hard every day," Ramirez said. "So going out and seeing all my teammates, seeing [manager] Robin Ventura, yeah, it was emotional."
Rocky Gale had two hits for the Padres, while catcher Erik Kratz homered off White Sox reliever Zach Putnam.
Up next for the Padres: The Padres head to Maryvale on Monday for a 12:05 p.m. PT game against the Brewers. Andrew Cashner, No. 3 in the rotation, will make his first start of the spring and is scheduled to work two innings. He'll be followed by rotation hopeful Drew Pomeranz. Fans can listen live to a free exclusive webcast on Padres.com or watch live on MLB.TV.
Up next for the White Sox:Erik Johnson makes his first Cactus League start at 1:05 p.m. CT on Monday, as the White Sox make the trip to Tempe for a matchup available live on MLB.TV. Mat Latos also will throw, but on the backfields of Camelback Ranch. Nate Jones is scheduled to pitch in Tempe, with his friend and former White Sox teammate Hector Santiago starting for the Angels.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.