Hanley looking for power surge

Don’t worry, Hanley Ramirez says.

“I’ll have 10 [homers] by the All-Star Break,” Ramirez said jokingly on Saturday afternoon.

Since May 22, the Marlins 25-year-old shortstop has been stuck on eight. Ramirez last went deep in the third inning of a May 22 game against the Rays, when he took Andy Sonnanstine deep.

After going 2-for-3 on Saturday night, Ramirez has now gone 98 straight at-bats without a homer. Don’t mistake his lack of home runs of late as a decline in his productivity.

For the month of June, Ramirez is hitting .324. For the season, the 25-year-old is batting .328, and he has 34 RBIs.

“This guy is a threat to hit a three-run homer any time he comes to the plate,” an MLB scout said. “To tell you the truth, the guys behind him haven’t been doing much better. So why give their best hitter something to hit?”

Pitchers give Ramirez the star treatment, too. They are pitching him mostly away, not giving him much to turn on. If Ramirez hits, they want him to hit the ball away.

“I look to stay up the middle,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez still leads all NL shortstop in on-base and slugging percentages. And he is making a strong argument to be the starting shortstop in the All-Star Game.

– Joe Frisaro

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