Ramirez all smiles in new first-base role

Ramirez all smiles in new first-base role

JUPITER, Fla. -- The liner off the bat of Brandon Moss was headed Hanley Ramirez's way, and he lost sight of it for a second amid the combination of sun and white shirts in the crowd at Roger Dean Stadium. But Ramirez snatched the ball out of the air anyway in the second inning of Monday's 4-3 win over the Cardinals -- and had a big smile on his face.

Ramirez's adjustment to first base is going well. Of late, he has made the routine plays, as well as some tough ones, and he is having a blast doing it.

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"No doubt," Ramirez said. "I think every day is getting better and better and better and better. I feel like everybody is looking at me like, 'He's going to make a great play right here.' That's what I expect from myself: 'Get ready, because it's right here. Get ready to dive right here, catch everything.'"

In the fifth, Brock Holt made a tremendous play up the middle to take a hit away from Jedd Gyorko, and Ramirez looked like a natural while making a big stretch to complete the play.

Holt's great defensive play

"It was just really exciting when I saw he caught the ball," Ramirez said. "I said, 'Yeah, throw it, let's finish it, finish the play."'

Ramirez is not only catching and fielding the ball, but he's also gotten his line-drive stroke back.

"I think out of this past year, this is the most confidence I've had," Ramirez said. "I'm seeing the ball better at the plate. Shorter swing."

If Ramirez's adjustment to first base was considered a big question mark when Spring Training started, that no longer seems to be the case.

"I think he's really enjoying it," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's in the game, involved in most plays and he's done a very good job there."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.