Red Sox manager believes moving slugger back to infield has been a boost
By Aaron Leibowitz
Special to MLB.com |
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday that he believes Hanley Ramirez is a "completely different" player than he was last year.
In 2015, Ramirez looked lost at times in left field and had one of the least productive offensive seasons of his career. So far in 2016, the 32-year-old has made a smooth transition to playing first base and entered Sunday batting .293 with a home run and five RBIs.
"We have a player, I think, completely different than a year ago," Farrell said. "He's engaged, he's having fun playing the game, [and] I think being back on the infield has been a big boost to that. He's doing one heck of a job."
At first base, where Ramirez had never played prior to this season, Farrell believes Ramirez's hard work in Spring Training has paid off. On Saturday, he made an impressive stretch to snag a wide throw and complete a double play in the eighth inning.
"Everything we could have hoped," Farrell said of Ramirez's defense. "He's played it, I think, with ease. He's put in a lot of work to get familiar with the different positioning and footwork around the bag."
On Friday, Ramirez busted out of the batter's box after a dropped third strike with two outs and was safe at first, then the next batter hit a two-run double. Farrell cited that play -- as well as Hanley's mood in the clubhouse -- as a sign that Ramirez is in a better place mentally.
"I think he's playing with some freedom, and it's shown up in his personality," Farrell said. "We see it in the way he interacts with fans. He's always in the fun and the noise and the joking around in the clubhouse, which is a good thing. He's in a good place."
Aaron Leibowitz is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.