After a slow start to Spring Training that saw him entering play hitting .208, Hanley Ramirez showed Sunday afternoon why the Red Sox were willing to make a 4-year, $88 million dollar commitment back in November for the former shortstop to play left field.
Ramirez went 2 for 3 with a mammoth 3-run blast to center field in the bottom of the third inning, his first long ball of the spring. He followed that up in the bottom of the fourth with a 2-run single, to increase Boston’s lead to 7-0.
“I mean, I was working on stuff,” Ramirez said in an interview with MLB.com. “Like I told [Pablo Sandoval], we’re not trying to make the team. We’re just trying to get ready for the season. I was just trying to hit it hard, somewhere.
“I’ve been feeling comfortable with what I’ve been doing to get ready,” he said. “I’ve been trying to slow my swing down and hit a hard groundball to second. I wasn’t trying to get hits. This is what we use spring for, to get ready for the season. Get your stroke back and make some adjustments.”
Red Sox manager’ John Farrell didn’t seem to be too worried about Ramirez’s slow start, who has hit .300/.353/.500 over 10 seasons with the Red Sox, Marlins and Dodgers.
“I think with each at-bat accumulated you’re seeing better timing,” Farrell said in an interview with NJ.com. “The first handful of games there was a willingness on his part to try to stay inside the ball and track pitches deep into the strike zone where you saw some ground balls to second base and fly balls to right.”
Ramirez’s home run came after Mookie Betts showed off his impressive speed with an inside-the-park home run to lead off the frame.
“He reminds me of myself in ’06 in Miami,” Ramirez told NJ.com.
In 11 Grapefruit League games, Ramirez is now hitting .300/.323/.467 with a home run and nine runs batted in.