"No, never," Ramirez said, when asked if he'd ever at least taken grounders at first base. "We'll try it in New York, and see how it goes."
"He's got good feet, good hands. How that translates, time will tell," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It can't hurt to take a look at it. I couldn't come up with a reason why not."
The motive for the trial is two-fold: The approaching return from a torn left thumb ligament of regular third baseman Josh Harrison, which could displace Ramirez; and giving Pedro Alvarez both defensive and offensive support at first base.
Alvarez's 16 errors at first base lead the Majors by a wide margin (five are tied for the second with six errors each) and are already the most in a season since 2011, when Ramirez's one-time Milwaukee teammate, Prince Fielder, had 15. Also, the leading current platoon option against left-handed pitchers is Sean Rodriguez, a versatile defensive giant carrying a .222 average and a .566 OPS entering Thursday.
When approached by Hurdle about giving this a go, Ramirez was "all in," according to the manager.
"He said, 'I want to win. I'll do whatever I can to help. I'll try it, give it a shot,'" Hurdle said. "We'll see what might happen, just to give him some flexibility, based on the guys we're getting back."
There is a premium for finding a place for Ramirez's bat even after Harrison's return. Since a harsh transitional period -- he went 4-for-34 after his July 23 trade from Milwaukee -- Ramirez has hit .283 in his last 11 games entering Thursday. He got a night off from Thursday's starting lineup, but has nine hits in 24 at-bats (.375) in a current six-game hitting streak.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.