Dombrowski, Hanley have 'great' meeting

Red Sox president says slugger is healthy and ready to play first base

Dombrowski, Hanley have 'great' meeting

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In a Sunday meeting with Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski informed the right-handed hitter that the club is counting on big things from him in 2016 and wanted to make sure he was up to the challenge of transitioning to first base.

With baseball's General Managers Meetings being held in Boca Raton, Dombrowski felt it made perfect sense to have the South Florida resident make the short drive so that they could visit.

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It wound up being a productive exercise that lasted about 45 minutes.

"It went great," Dombrowski said. "We asked him to come by. I asked him to come by."

Dombrowski got an encouraging report on Ramirez's right shoulder, which prevented him from playing after Aug. 26.

"Hanley has no pain in his shoulder," said Dombrowski. "I [told] him, 'We're counting on [you] for big things next year. We're counting on [you] to be our first baseman.' I asked him if he thought he could play first base. He said, 'I can play shortstop, I can play third base, I can play first base.' He seemed comfortable."

Coming off a decidedly disappointing first season with Boston, Ramirez is saying all the right things. But the proof will be based on what takes place in the coming months.

"All of this stuff will be action-based," Dombrowski said. "He's been working out already. What he's going to do is, he's going to be here for a couple of more weeks and then he is going to the Dominican for a couple of months."

And Ramirez will have a workout partner who should steer him in the right direction.

"He's in a spot where David Ortiz is going down there," said Dombrowski. "They're going to work out together. The meeting went great and I was impressed. He was here, he was on time, he was ready to go. He looked fine. But it was really at our request so we could just all sit down and visit."

The Red Sox didn't tell Ramirez to take ground balls this offseason, but he might do so on his own. The biggest priority for Dombrowski and the Sox is that he comes to camp in the best shape possible.

"He understands we're much more interested in him being a little more athletic," Dombrowski said. "And the thing about him that I emphasized, when he is, whatever his exact weight is -- let's say 245, approximately -- he's not an overweight 245. He's big and huge 245.

"We would rather have a more svelte 230 type of weight. We're not giving him a mandatory weight, by any means. But we want him more athletic, more focused on hitting doubles, using the whole field, driving in runs than worrying about hitting the ball out of the ballpark for 40 home runs.

"Sometimes I think when you play left field or you play first base, you put in your own mind that you have to be a power hitter, and that's not the case at all. He'll hit enough home runs. We want him to be a productive hitter and drive in a lot of runs. We want to make sure again that we're all on the same page. And he was fine with it. He understood it and I think he'll go forward with that type of mindset."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.