Boston Red Sox's Hanley Ramirez says he wants to stay in left field in 2016 … – MassLive.com
BOSTON — So Hanley, if you were to switch positions next year, would you rather play first base or third base?
“Left field,” Hanley Ramirez replied to that very question posed to him by MassLive.com before Boston’s game against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Yes, Ramirez has struggled enormously in left field this year, ranking the worst among qualified major league left fielders in Ultimate Zone Rating (-14.5) and FanGraphs’ Defense statistic (-17.9).
Yes, he has received harsh criticism for his poor defense and apparent lack of hustle on occasion — and he has been scrutinized about a lack of work being put in before games to improve as an outfielder.
Speculation the ex-shortstop could return to the infield next year has existed for months.
GM Ben Cherington met with the media Friday and one reporter asked him if Ramirez could move to the infield at some point during the final two months of this season with the last-place Red Sox in experiment-mode trying to get a jumpstart on 2016. Cherington didn’t provide a yes or no answer but he didn’t dismiss the idea either.
Ramirez has sound reasoning for wanting to remain in left field in 2016.
“Because what I was trying to do (in previous seasons) was just stay on the field,” Ramirez said. “I was having problems with that. I was getting hurt a lot. And I think playing in the outfield, that gives me a better chance to just stay on the field.”
Ramirez did spend a good amount of time on the disabled list three of the past four years as a shortstop. He played in just 86 games in 2013 and 128 games last year. He also appeared in only 92 games during the 2011 season.
Despite playing in just 86 games in ’13, he still finished eighth for the National League MVP, hitting .345/.402/.638/1.040 with 20 homers and 57 RBIs.
He’s a man who loves to hit and it comes naturally to him. (Click here to read about how Ramirez takes the easiest approach to hitting, one of the hardest things to do in sports).
He has been at his best this year when the designated hitter and not having to worry about playing left field. He has appeared in 10 games at DH, batting .325/.349/.750/1.099 with five homers and 11 RBIs.
Popular perception is Ramirez hates defense and all he really wants to do is …Read More