Turning two: Few as good as Padres' Ramirez

Veteran shortstop already clicking with double-play partner

Turning two: Few as good as Padres' Ramirez

SAN DIEGO -- Shortstop Alexei Ramirez turned his first double play in a Padres uniform Tuesday night -- a sight Friar fans should probably start getting used to.

No one in baseball started more double plays last season than Ramirez, who initiated 55. He was also the pivot man on 46 of them, making him one of only seven middle infielders to be involved in at least 100 twin killings in 2015.

According to Fangraphs, Ramirez ranked second among shortstops and third overall in double play rating -- and he had some pretty elite company. Only Andrelton Simmons and Dee Gordon finished ahead of him.

"A lot of it is with coaching help, and understanding the game situation and the frequency of where [the batter] has been hitting lately," Ramirez said. "That's been a big help, what they tell me. But aside from that, it's just playing the game -- internal clock and instincts."

Those intstincts are probably the biggest key to Ramirez's success, allowing him to get to the ball quickly.

But his first-year double-play partner Cory Spangenberg has noticed something different.

"The one thing that I've seen with Alexei -- that I haven't seen with anyone else -- is that he throws the ball really, really hard to you," Spangenberg said. "You have more time to do what you need to do to turn the double play."

Most of those throws only travel about 30-40 feet. But Spangenberg insisted that it can make all the difference.

"Quick transfer, hard throw, and he's been putting it on the money," Spangenberg said. "That's less work for us to do [at second], when he gets us the ball quickly and accurately."

Ramirez signed a one-year deal with the Padres in the offseason with a team option for a second. His presence figures to have a greater impact in San Diego than it would elsewhere, with starters Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner both ground-ball pitchers, who also frequently find themselves with men on base.

As for Ramirez's first chance to turn two with the Padres, it was certainly one of the more athletic twin-killings you'll see. He ranged one step to his right and did a split, before springing out of it to make a snap throw to second base.

"It looked like a dance move," said manager Andy Green. "He's just really rangy and really free when he's coming across the bag when he's actually pivoting. And he does a really good job of covering his ground."

Worth noting

• One of the biggest stories in baseball this season has been the reviews of takeout slides at second base -- specifically relating to Tuesday's controversy in the Toronto-Tampa Bay game. Green addressed how he plans to handle the new slide rule.

"From this vantage point, when you look out here, you literally have to stop almost every double play and put your hand up and ask for your guys to look for it," Green said. "You don't always see a guy's hand swipe across a guy's foot. From my perspective, we almost have to stall the game out for a second. We owe it to our club."

• The Padres unveiled their new navy digital camouflage uniforms Wednesday night. As the club has done in the past, the camouflage uniforms will be worn for Sunday home games, which honor the military.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.