MIAMI — The Marlins are looking to have Hanley Ramirez back in their starting lineup. The team isn’t looking to move him to another position.
Speculation about a position change surfaced last week when new manager Ozzie Guillen suggested Ramirez could play somewhere other than shortstop.
On Thursday, Marlins president David Samson said Ramirez is the team’s shortstop.
“There has been no conversations with that,” Samson said of a possible position change. “I suppose if we sign a free agent first baseman who would only sign with us if he could play shortstop, I guess that is the conversation we’d have with all of our players. But Hanley is our starting shortstop.”
Ramirez is recovering from left shoulder surgery, and the team is hopeful that he will be ready by the 2012 opener.
“More importantly, we need him on the field,” Samson said. “That’s what he’s focused on this offseason, getting better. His range of motion is getting better. He’s improving, and we expect him to be in the lineup on Opening Day.”
Ramirez missed the final two months of the season with his shoulder injury.
A three-time All-Star, he is coming off his worst season — .243 average with 10 homers and 45 RBIs in 92 games.
Last week, Guillen suggested on a conference call that Ramirez could move to another position.
“I just want him on the field no matter where,” Guillen said. “If he has to be a shortstop, it’s shortstop. If he has to be somewhere else, I just want this kid to be on the field every day. That’s what I’m looking for. The conversation was great, but you know me. It’s up to the Marlins, what they have in mind, what they want to do. The longer this kid’s on the field there and giving me at-bats every day, that’s what I need.”
— Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — A couple of more spots on Ozzie Guillen’s staff have been filled.
Joe Espada will be back as the Marlins’ third base coach, and Reid Cornelius is returning as bullpen coach.
Espada will be entering his seventh season in the organization, and third on the big league staff.
Guillen was hired as Marlins’ manager on Sept. 28, after he was released from his contract with the White Sox on Sept. 26.
The Marlins staff now includes bench coach Joey Cora, hitting coach Eduardo Perez, pitching coach Randy St. Claire, Cornelius and Espada, who coached the outfielders in 2011.
Espada also interviewed for the managerial job on Sept. 26.
Retaining Cornelius brings continuity to the pitching staff as he will be together again with St. Claire.
– Joe Frisaro