JUPITER, Fla. (CBSMiami) – When the Miami Marlins acquired free agent shortstop Jose Reyes, the attention immediately turned to if Marlins infielder Hanley Ramirez would be okay with moving to third base.
Hanley initially was seriously disgruntled about the move by the Marlins to move him to third base. The former All-Star shortstop didn’t want to move, but time has apparently smoothed things over, at least on the outside.
Ramirez is in Jupiter and working with the team as he recovers from left shoulder surgery and learns his new position. For the first time in his career, Hanley is saying the right things and acting like a team leader instead of a team annihilator.
“Now, I need to show I improved in the offseason, through the bad times when I had injuries,” Ramirez told MLB.com. “Mentally, I’m stronger and physically. I just feel good right now.”
Ramirez is trying to recover from an awful 2011 campaign that saw him hit just .243 for the season. He spent much of the season on the bench recovering from a variety of injuries.
The team is hopeful he can regain his former hitting self that tore up National League pitching just a few seasons ago.
Ramirez has already been hitting in the batting cages and has been taking ground balls at third base.
“We will have plenty of time to see Hanley,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen told MLB.com. “He seems happy. I like his attitude right now. Obviously, over a long period of time, not just Hanley, but every player has the tendency to be up and down. I think the attitude he has right now is great.”
Hanley’s offseason shoulder-surgery was performed by world-renowned sports medicine expert, Dr. James Andrews from Birmingham, Alabama.
Ramirez had a check-up with Dr. Andrews last week. Dr. Andrews cleared Ramirez for the season, but the Marlins have asked Ramirez not to dive during full-squad workouts that start this weekend.
“I know what kind of player I am,” Ramirez said. “I know what kind of player I’m going to be this year, because my body feels 100 percent.”
Ramirez and Reyes could form a formidable tandem for the Marlins for several seasons to come. It will arguably one of the most talented left side of the infields in baseball. But, there’s still one question that will have to be answered to know how successful the duo can be in Miami.
“The only thing is we’ve got to stay healthy,” Ramirez said. “If we stay healthy the whole year, it’s going to be a monster year.”