Hanley apologizes to teammates before win

Hanley apologizes to teammates before win

ST. LOUIS -- Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez met with manager Fredi Gonzalez and apologized to each of his teammates individually in a closed-door meeting before Wednesday night's 5-1 win against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

The 26-year-old shortstop and the face of the franchise had been harshly criticized for his lack of effort during Monday's game against Arizona and his reaction since, including his comments to reporters on Tuesday when he criticized his manager.

Gonzalez met with Ramirez for about five minutes in his office on Wednesday afternoon. Gonzalez, who held the shortstop out of Tuesday's 8-0 win over the D-backs, heard what he wanted to hear from Ramirez and inserted him back into his usual No. 3 spot in the lineup.

"He's back to his normal spot," Gonzalez said before the game. "We talked, and that's that. We're just going to go out and play baseball, have some fun and win some ballgames."

Ramirez, who had three hits to raise his average to .303, spoke to reporters briefly after the game but didn't say much about what has gone on the past few days.

"I'm happy to be in the lineup," Ramirez said. "That's what I like to do, play every day."

Ramirez, a two-time All-Star and the National League batting champion in 2009, had drawn criticism for his lack of effort in chasing down a ball he accidently kicked into left field early in Monday's game against Arizona.

Gonzalez pulled Ramirez from the game and held the shortstop out of Tuesday's finale. The manager wanted Ramirez to apologize to his teammates, and the shortstop, on Tuesday, said he didn't have a reason to apologize and criticized Gonzalez.

"It's his team," Ramirez said of Gonzalez on Tuesday.

A Marlins media-relations representative said Ramirez would not speak with reporters before Wednesday's game, but the All-Star shortstop did talk about the situation during a phone interview with ESPNDeportes.com earlier on Wednesday.

"I regret that all this has gotten so ugly," Ramirez told the website in Spanish. "It wasn't my intention to create a distraction.

"I feel bad that things got to this point; the team and the fans don't deserve it. Here, we're all professionals, and we're after the same things. I'm going to try to end this matter and focus on playing baseball."

After Ramirez apologized to his teammates in the clubhouse, infielder Wes Helms spoke with reporters. Helms said the shortstop approached each player individually to apologize, rather than speak to everyone as a group.

"He's a young kid, I understand that," Helms said. "Doing it that way is a lot easier than doing it in front of a whole crowd. Whatever way he does it, we just wanted him to do it and he did it ... so now it's done with. We go out there and play baseball and it won't be spoken of again."

Helms said he thought Ramirez was genuine in his remorse.

"I can tell that it's affected him," Helms said. "You can just tell by his actions today, watching him. Again, he's a young kid. He's still learning, we're all learning ... but just by the way he went around to all the players, you can tell that it got to him. Just by his mannerisms, by his tone of voice, it wasn't a tone to get it over with. It was really like he felt bad. You could tell. I'm sure he did. That's probably the worst thing he's had happen to him in his career so far. He's our teammate, so we back him. He did the right thing, so now we move on."

Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.