Results tagged ‘ Hanley Ramirez ’

Full-squad workouts to begin

JUPITER, Fla. — Over the past few days, position players have gradually filtered into the Marlins complex at Roger Dean Stadium.

hanley2-21.jpgWhile pitchers and catchers have been working out since last Friday, several position players have been getting ready on their own. On Monday, for instance, Hanley Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez were in the batting cages late in the morning.

On Tuesday, full-squad workouts will begin with the players taking the field at 12:30 p.m. ET, after they take their physicals in the morning.

The workouts are open to the public.

What fans can expect to see on the back fields are plenty of drills, and an emphasis on improving defensively. Pitchers will also be throwing to hitters.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez is stressing the fundamentals, and challenging his players and the coaching staff to do the little things that result in victories.

Ramirez on Monday told reporters that he is ready to take on the challenge of doing his part to lead the team to the postseason.

The first full-squad workouts will give the team its first look at Chris Coghlan in center field, and Matt Dominguez at third base. Those two spots will be closely watched all spring.

Coghlan, who is recovering from a meniscus tear to his left knee, has never played center field at the professional level. Also, because of the surgery, he will be eased back into playing shape.

Dominguez, meanwhile, is a 21-year-old who is striving to make the leap from Double-A to the big leagues. His overall game has drawn comparisons to Mike Lowell. Defensively, he is special. Whether he can handle hitting in the big leagues will be his greatest challenge.

Tuesday also will be the first time the organization sees Omar Infante in a Marlins’ uniform. Acquired from the Braves as part of the Dan Uggla trade, Infante is the probable Opening Day second baseman.

Many questions have been asked about the roster during the offseason. Beginning on Tuesday, the organization will start to get some answers.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Hanley ready for fresh start

JUPITER, Fla. — A healthy and happy Hanley Ramirez took some swings in the batting cage on Monday morning, the day before the Marlins begin full-squad workouts at Roger Dean Stadium.

H2RST11a.jpgThe three-time All-Star shortstop is ready to put a rough 2010 behind him, and regain the form that resulted in him being the NL batting champion in 2009.

Entering his sixth season with the Marlins, Ramirez noted the goal is to reach the playoffs.

“I want to know what it feels like,” Ramirez said of reaching the postseason. “I’m tired of watching it on TV. I want to be in there. It’s different. A lot of motivation.”

Reminded that his former teammate, Cody Ross, was part of the Giants’ World Series team, Ramirez said: “Good for him. He deserves it.”

Ramirez said he was pleased to see a lot of happy faces in the Marlins clubhouse.

After missing the final few weeks of 2010 with a left elbow strain, Ramirez enters camp healthy and eager to improve on a self proclaimed down year.

“I did more lower body [work] this year,” Ramirez said. “I want to have my legs at the end of the season. I did light weights to make me stronger.”

Ramirez said he would like to steal more bases, building on the 32 he swiped a year ago.

“I don’t have a number, but I want to get more than I got last year,” he said. “I’ve got to get in scoring position for those guys hitting behind me. That’s one thing I can do, steal a base and get in scoring position.”

In the offseason, Ramirez became a father again, as his wife gave birth to a girl – Hailey.

Ramirez also was asked about his relationship with former manager Fredi Gonzalez, who is now with Atlanta.

“That’s in the past. Fredi and me, we get along,” Ramirez said. “He’s a good person. He just tried to help me. Now, we got a new manager. I’ve got a good relationship with Edwin [Rodriguez]. I want to show I respect everybody.”

– Joe Frisaro

Finding a winning formula

Finding ways to win close games is one of the Marlins’ objectives in Spring Training.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez asked his staff on the first day of camp to come up with ways the team could pull out one and two run games.

leo1a.jpgAmong the suggestions was squeeze bunting and slap hitting. On Sunday, outfield coach Joe Espada worked with the pitchers on situational hitting. Specifically, they practiced squeeze bunting and slapping ground balls.

On the slap hit drills, the pitchers would turn to bunt, then bring the bat back and attempt to swat a grounder up the middle.

Some other highlights from Sunday:

* Josh Johnson, Javier Vazquez and Leo Nunez each threw their second bullpen sessions since camp opened on Friday. Johnson, who missed the final month of last year with back and shoulder problems, is fine. He already is impressing with how well he’s throwing. Nunez is working on his slider, and Vazquez is building back up his arm strength.

* A number of position players filtered into camp early Sunday afternoon, including Hanley Ramirez. Mike Stanton, Omar Infante, Chris Coghlan, Emilio Bonifacio and Gaby Sanchez were among the players getting settled. Full-squad workouts begin on Tuesday.

* Pitchers and catchers will be on the field at 10 a.m. Monday morning.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

Fun at FanFest

Marlins players mingled with fans on Saturday at FanFest at Sun Life Stadium.

All the players made their way down to Miami before heading up to Jupiter for a second day of workouts at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

– Joe Frisaro

(Photos by Robert Vigon and Denis Bancroft)

 

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Leftovers from Marlins media luncheon

This offseason, the Marlins changed how they do business.

For the first time in more than five years, the organization offered several players multiyear contracts.

With their new stadium opening in 2012, revenues project to rise. Most likely, so will the team payroll, which could be about $58 million by Opening Day.

In the offseason, Ricky Nolasco signed a three-year, $26.5 million contract. Free agent catcher John Buck signed for three years at $17.94 million, while reliever Randy Choate secured a two-year, $2.5 million deal.

Previously, the last big named free agent Florida signed to a multiyear deal was Carlos Delgado in 2005.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said on Monday at the annual media luncheon at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami that players must show they’re worthy of multiyear contracts.

“Ricky showed me a tremendous amount of development and maturity, and a work ethic,” Loria said.

Loria talked with Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest about offering a long-term contract to Nolasco, and a deal was reached in December.

“I told Larry, ‘We have to lock him up and take care of him.’ And we did,” Loria said. “Going into the new stadium, it will give us further opportunity to do stuff with players, but they have to show the manager and the general manager and all of us that they’ve earned it. It just isn’t something that you hand out. You earn it.”

Some other topics touched on at the luncheon:

* Slugger Mike Stanton, who turned 21 in November, has added about eight pounds since the end of last season. A towering presence, Stanton said he is at 250-pounds. When asked if it was muscle, Stanton joked: “Fat.” That responsde brought laughter because he is in terrific shape.

* Stanton talking about Twitter: “It’s fun to interact with our fans, and even people who aren’t our fans. To see what they have to say. It’s fun.”

* With 100 MLB games under his belt, Stanton projects to bat cleanup in his first full big league season.

“You either can handle it or you can’t,” Beinfest said. “Either you’re Miguel Cabrera and you can handle it, or you are Mike Stanton and you can handle it. His ability is off the charts, and he’s going to be fine. There are going to be some days when he’s going to look like a 21-year-old without a lot of big league experience. But he is a special talent.”

* Hanley Ramirez will be expected to take on more of a leadership role. “He will,” Loria said. “I think that is also a matter of maturity and recognizing who you are. Hanley is a bright young man. He’s only 27. Maturing takes a little while.”

Loria spoke with Ramirez a couple of months ago, and he feels the 27-year-old shortstop is primed to bounce back in 2011.

“He’s as excited as ever,” Loria said. “I said to him, ‘Hanley, you’ve won a batting championship. You’ve won the Rookie of the Year. It’s time to be what they call the MVP.’ He said he got the picture.

“I’m not saying he’s going to be the MVP, but he has the ability to do whatever Hanley wants. I love him. There is no secret about that. I think he’s going to come in here and do what he needs to do.”

* You can put to rest any speculation of Ramirez eventually moving to another position. The Marlins have no intentions of playing the three-time All-Star anywhere other than shortstop. “He’s there,” Beinfest said. “And I hope he’s there for a long time. I think defensively, he’s improved over the years. There are some things that he can clean up too. But I don’t see anything major with him.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins payroll projects at $58 million

The Marlins aren’t waiting until moving into their new ballpark to bump up payroll.

After taking care of all their arbitration business on Tuesday, the Marlins’ have already allocated more than $52 million on 13 players. By the time their 25-man roster is completed, their Opening Day number projects to be about $58 million.

It’s the franchise’s highest payroll since it opened 2005 with a $60.4 million figure. That squad featured Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, Paul Lo Duca and Juan Pierre.

In 2010, the Marlins’ payroll to start the season was $47.4 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Hanley Ramirez will be the highest paid player on the team with a base salary of $11 million. Josh Johnson will be making $7.75 million, while Javier Vazquez is signed for $7 million, and Ricky Nolasco is set to earn $6 million.

Payroll increases are expected over the next few seasons, after the team moves into their new retractable-roof ballpark, which is set to open in 2012.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Hanley celebrates 27th birthday

Thursday is a big day for Hanley Ramirez. The three-time All-Star is celebrating his 27th birthday, which for him is another reason to celebrate during the holiday season.

hanley_92.jpgAlready one of the top players in the game, the Marlins shortstop is also moving closer to reaching the prime of his career. If he keeps continuing at the pace he’s been at in his first five big league seasons, he will be well on his way to posting Hall of Fame credentials.

What Ramirez has done from ages 22 to 26 certainly is impressive, and you wonder just how much more he will accomplish.

He’s already been the NL Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger Award winner, a batting champion, an All-Star and a second-place finisher in the MVP voting.

Since 2006, his rookie year, he tops all players in the game in runs scored with 562, and he’s sixth overall in total hits (934).

Among shortstops, his 124 home runs are the most of any player at his position. And his .313 batting is second only to Derek Jeter’s .314 average in the same time frame.

Across the board, Ramirez’s overall numbers have made him the most impressive player — at least offensively — at his position since he broke in as a rookie. His on-base percentage (.385) ranks first among shortstops in the past five years. He is first in home runs with 124, and he paces his position in doubles with 198.

Ramirez’s 196 stolen bases are second most of any shortstop since his rookie season. Only Jose Reyes, with 239, has more.

In Marlins’ history, Ramirez will enter 2011 within striking distance of Dan Uggla’s franchise home run mark of 154. With 30, he will pull even.

Ramirez currently ranks fourth in Marlins’ history in hits, fifth in home runs, second in runs scored, second in doubles, and tied for first in career batting average. Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera each have a .313 average as Marlins.

By his own high standards, Ramirez is coming off a disappointing season, where he batted .300 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs.

At age 27, Ramirez will be looking for a bounce back year in 2011.

– Joe Frisaro

Winter Meetings leftovers

It’s no secret the Marlins are exploring lefty relief help. Randy Choate has been added to the mix of possibilities. Also on Florida’s radar is Joe Beimel.

In all likelihood, the team will add a veteran lefty, who projects to join Mike Dunn on the Opening Day roster.

As the lefty search continues, don’t rule out the Marlins eventually exploring the possibility of landing an experienced closer. At the Winter Meetings, which wrapped up last Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, representatives of the organization inquired about the availability of Padres All-Star Heath Bell.

After Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Red Sox, the Marlins checked to see if San Diego has more big moves ahead. For now, it appears Bell will be staying with the Padres. But that could change over the course of the next few months, and into the season.

The Marlins are planning on giving Leo Nunez the first shot at closing when Spring Training opens. Clay Hensley is a backup option.

* Manager Edwin Rodriguez offered a preliminary batting order for upcoming Grapefruit League games in March — Chris Coghlan (CF), Omar Infante (2B), Hanley Ramirez (SS), Mike Stanton (RF), Logan Morrison (LF), Gaby Sanchez (1B), John Buck (C) and Matt Dominguez (3B).

* Recently, Rodriguez came to terms on an endorsement deal with New Balance. “Edwin is honored as the first Puerto Rican-born Major League manager to be with New Balance,” said Burton Rocks, Rodriguez’s New York-based agent.

* Here are some contract details of recently signed Marlins. Burke Badenhop will earn $750,000 in 2011 after he avoided arbitration. John Buck’s three-year, $17,943,787 million contract includes base salaries of $4.5 million in ’11, $6 million in ’12 and $6 million in ’13. There also is a $1.5 million signing bonus, and incentives of $25,000 if he makes the All-Star Game and winning the Silver Slugger Award. He has a $50,000 Gold Glove bonus. Javier Vazquez’s one-year, $7 million deal includes a $25,000 All-Star bonus and a $100,000 bonus if he wins the Cy Young Award. Buck and Vazquez also can earn bonuses if the Marlins reach the playoffs and they are named MVP of either the League Championship Series or the World Series.

– Joe Frisaro
 

Marlins every day lineup set

Barring anything unforeseen, the Marlins’ every day lineup is set. At least, the lineup the team envisions when Spring Training opens.

Around the horn, the team plans on going with John Buck (catcher), Gaby Sanchez (first base), Omar Infante (second base), Hanley Ramirez (shortstop), Matt Dominguez (third base), Logan Morrison (left field), Chris Coghlan (center field) and Mike Stanton (right field).

A few weeks ago, Florida explored some possible center field options. They were linked to having interest in Arizona’s Justin Upton.

MLB.com has learned the Marlins also inquired about Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton. But the asking price didn’t match.

The Marlins have no intention of trading their young core of players — Coghlan, Morrison, Sanchez and Stanton. If Dominguez isn’t ready, there is a chance the team could move some pieces around. Wes Helms could play third. Another scenario would be Emilio Bonifacio playing second and Infante sliding over to third. 

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

More movement in Uggla talks

From months, the Marlins have made it clear they are hopeful of signing Dan Uggla to a multi-year contract.

President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest repeated the team’s stance on Wednesday when he confirmed there has been continued dialogue with Uggla’s agent, Terry Bross of Gaylord Sports Management.

Beinfest briefly addressed the team’s stance on Uggla during a conference call introducing Edwin Rodriguez back as Florida’s manager.

According to multiple sources, talks with Uggla have been progressing. Exact details are still stetchy, but there has been movement to bridge the initial gap.

The Marlins’ initial offer over the summer was three-years, $24 million. Uggla’s camp countered with five years at more than $50 million.

There are indications that the Marlins have agreed to add a fourth year. Based on performance, Uggla has positioned himself to be worth about $11 million a season. So there is a likelihood that the sides could be discussing a four-year deal worth roughly $44 million.

Uggla earned $7.8 million in 2010.

The 30-year-old power-hitting second baseman has one more season left in arbitration before he’d qualify for free agency. The Marlins are trying to avoid that by locking up one of their top players.

After hitting 33 homers and driving in 105 runs, Uggla is lined up for a substantial raise.

Uggla is posting historic numbers at his position. He is the only second baseman in MLB history to hit at least 30 home runs in four seasons. He has done so in four consecutive years, which also is a team record.

With 154 career homers, Uggla is the Marlins’ all-time leader in that category.

Uggla and Hanley Ramirez combine to form one of the most productive middle infields in the game. The organization is hoping to keep them together for several more years.

– Joe Frisaro
 

 

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