Hanley's impact goes beyond performance

Hanley's impact goes beyond performance

MIAMI -- More than the numbers tells the impact Hanley Ramirez has made for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Ramirez, the Dodgers' shortstop, has had his ups and downs in the tournament. But when he's come up big, he's been a difference maker.

In his first five games, Ramirez was 3-for-15 (.200). Two of the hits, however, were home runs.

Ramirez connected on a mammoth homer off R.A. Dickey on Wednesday in the Dominican's 3-1 win over Team USA at Marlins Park.

What's pleased Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena is how Ramirez has been agreeable to whatever role he's asked.

"I think Hanley has handled everything great," Pena said. "We had a tough decision when we began the WBC, because I had three shortstops."

Pena's challenge entering the Classic was how to split time between Jose Reyes, Erick Aybar and Ramirez at short.

"I wanted to play all three shortstops in one game," Pena said. "Hanley said, 'I can play third.' Everybody adjusted right into this. He's been doing great.

"Maybe average-wise, he's not swinging the bat the way he's capable of swinging, but the two home runs that he hit meant something for the ballclub."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter