Hanley, so far, passing test at third

Becoming an average to above average third baseman is going to take some time for Hanley Ramirez.

The Marlins know that, and they’re making sure the three-time All-Star knows that.

Every day Ramirez is out there, working hard and preparing, is a positive step, according to manager Ozzie Guillen.

“As every day goes by, I’ll be very pleased with Hanley at third base, no matter if he’s making errors or not,” Guillen said. “Hanley is going to have a tough time at third base. Hopefully, not that many days. I don’t expect Hanley to go out there and be Robin Ventura.”

Ventura, now the White Sox manager, was a top-flight defensive third baseman in his playing days.

To his credit, Ramirez is highly motivated in camp, fielding his position daily well before the first pitch of a game is thrown.

“I talked to him about it,” Guillen said. “I said, ‘Hey, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to make errors. Try to put them away and get ready for the next ground ball. Let me handle the errors.”

On Sunday, Ramirez was tested a couple of times in the field during the Marlins’ 4-2 win over the Mets in Port St. Lucie.

He made a nice backhanded stop for one out. And he was helped turn a 5-4-3 double play. The double play, though, was tricky, because it was a hit-and-run situation. Ramirez threw to second for the force out, but barely.

“You’ve got to make an adjustment,” Guillen said. “That was a hit-and-run. I don’t think it was a great decision.”

It was a decision that panned out, but it also was the first time Ramirez had to deal with making a split-second decision on which base to throw to since he was switched from shortstop to third.

Working in Ramirez’s favor is the fact he knows the game.

“He’s got great baseball instincts,” Guillen said. “When you’ve got great baseball instincts, the game comes a little easier for you.”

— Joe Frisaro


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