The new first baseman for the Red Sox reported to camp today eager to get to work in the area of the field he used to call home.
Hanley Ramirez looked healthier than last year according to early photos from Pete Abraham and Tom Caron.
He may not have lost the 20-30 pounds that Dom asked him to lose but he did look a little slimmer compared to last year. He fully rehabbed his whole body according to ESPN’s Rick Webber and altered his diet on top of adding muscle through agility workouts in his hometown of Miami.
Ramirez spoke to the media after taking groundballs and batting practice today at Fenway South, six days prior to his report date.
“My whole body, my upper body, my lower body, core, we took care of everything,” Ramirez said. “My shoulder got better. That top hand that I couldn't use last year -- that's stronger. We have a pretty good plan. Everything went into the preparation, and I feel it right now.”
The top hand he was referring to looked very comfortable going through the zone when he was taking swings in the turtle.
Ramirez also noted the pressures on him to perform after last year. According to Pete Abraham, Ramirez said, “Last year was a horrible year. Not for me. We didn’t go to the playoffs. Like I always say, it’s not one person.”
He acknowledges the fact that last year was not the desired outcome (no duh) but realizes that work was needed to be done and according to him, he’s been putting in that work. Abraham reported that he has been working with mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez (who is a former scout and minor league coach) with a first baseman’s mitt gifted by former first baseman Mike Napoli.
Brian Butterfield is expected to take over with Ramirez officially on Thursday and will be hoping to formulate another successful transition to first base as he worked Napoli into the position from behind the plate.
When he was asked if this transition would only last this year due to Ortiz’s looming retirement; Webber quoted him asking, “What if I win a Gold Glove? What is going to happen next year? It's too far [away]. I don't make those decisions. I have a boss."
Whether or not any of this work comes to fruition you have to admire his view towards the change. He understands that last year sucked and there’s pressure on not only him but the team as a whole to produce due to their outstanding track record.
I’m not saying that he’s going to crack under said pressure but he points out the fact that there are expectations of him and he is ready to fulfil them.
On top of that he’s also not worried about next year or anything other than catching and throwing the baseball.
“Catch the ball and throw it. That's the main key right now,” Webber reported. “I told Bogey right away, 'Just throw the ball in this area and you'll be fine. Don't worry, I got you.' Pedey, he don't make bad throws. 'I'm always going to hit you in the chest.' "
He knows what he has to get done and is ready and willing to do that and I don’t hate shooting for the stars in winning a Gold Glove either. You have to have the attitude that you’re the best and it seems that he is feeling like that.
"I don't like to talk about myself, but if I stay on the field the whole season, 150-plus games, good things can happen."
Here’s hoping that Hanley produces and remains competent in the field and stays in the lineup that is going to be playing well into October.
One more day.