There’s no denying the fact that three-time all-star Hanley Ramirez’s first season back in Boston didn’t go too well.
His fielding was disastrous in left field, a position he switched to after playing at shortstop and third base for the majority of his career. The team performed better without him in the lineup late in the season, and he finished the season with a batting average of .249, the lowest in his career.
Ramirez will make his return to the infield though, shifting to first base, another position he has never played.
However, people who have watched Ramirez take fielding drills have been impressed with how he has performed.
“He looks like he’s going to be fine over there,” President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told RedSox.com. “I think he can do it. He looks like a natural infielder, and I don’t see him having any problems fielding ground balls. The key for him is that he’s going to have to continue to work at it and we’re going to have to make sure he continues to work at it on a daily basis.”
“I thought Hanley had a very good day today,” manager John Farrell told RedSox.com following a workout earlier this week. “He completed all the plays. As far as the throws … his footwork today was very good.”
Ramirez’s return to the infield is going to greatly improve his value to the team. Yes, it’s yet another position Ramirez has never played and yes he is coming off of a rough hitting season, one of the worst in his career. However, Ramirez has been a consistently great player in his time in the MLB, and a move into the outfield and a move to a different infield position are two completely different things.
After a reporter asked him if he was excited to return to the infield, Ramirez responded, “Definitely, definitely, definitely. That’s my area and I’m very happy to be there.”
Ramirez will start in the first spring training game of the year against Boston College, and he will be playing first base, and that’s something Red Sox fans should be excited about.