MIAMI -- This weekend, they are rivals. But during the offseason, Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista regularly worked out together and are close friends.
Interleague Play allows players to catch up with each other on occasion, and Ramirez and Bautista have been doing so at Marlins Park this weekend.
This past offseason, the two trained together in the Dominican Republic. Actually, about seven players, either in the big leagues or Minor Leagues, worked in their group. Wilson Betemit of the Orioles was another regular.
Sometimes Marlins center fielder Emilio Bonifacio took part.
In the mornings, they'd get together on a field, doing baseball activities. Later in the afternoon, they lifted at a gym.
"Hanley is one of the most talented players in the league," Bautista said. "When he's on his game, there are not a lot of guys who can do what he can do. He can hit, hit with power, and at the same time, steal bases.
"He's a player that I've admired for a while. This offseason, we used the same trainer to get back into shape. For me, it was an honor to work out with him to get ready for Spring Training."
Ramirez has great respect for Bautista, and he plans to work out again in the offseason with him.
"Good preparation, that's the key for October," Ramirez said of his offseason workouts.
Being in different leagues makes it harder for them to keep in touch.
Every now and then, they'd send each other text messages.
"Sometimes I bounce ideas when it comes to hitting off him, and he does with me," Bautista said. "You never know when somebody's comment might get you on track quickly. I always wish the best for him."