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Amid changes, Ramirez sees opportunity


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A nice article on Hanley Ramirez that may have been overlooked....

 

HANLEY RAMIREZ

 

Amid changes, Ramirez sees opportunity

 

BY KEVIN BAXTER

 

[email protected]

 

OK, so the Boston Red Sox have a better chance to go to the World Series than the Marlins, and their fans are more rabid, and their ballpark more storied.

 

But all that is window dressing as far as Hanley Ramirez is concerned. That's because the Marlins already have offered Ramirez something he might have never received with Boston: a chance to play.

 

Even though the five-player trade that will bring Ramirez and two other minor-leaguers to Florida for starting pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell isn't official because of pending physicals, it is already clear the Marlins plan to start spring training with Ramirez as their starting shortstop. And that's all he ever wanted.

 

''It's a great opportunity for me,'' Ramirez said in Spanish from his home in the Dominican Republic. ``When I go to spring training I have to show what I can do -- every day -- to win the position.''

 

To Ramirez, the Marlins' latest fire sale means opportunity, not angst. Ranked as the Red Sox's No. 1 prospect two of the past three years, Ramirez has just two big-league at-bats to show for all that promise and probably wouldn't have gotten many more in the near future, with All-Star Edgar Renteria signed through 2008.

 

But with the Marlins shedding salary so quickly the team's accountants are likely to get the bends, virtually every lineup spot figures to be up for grabs come February. And that also will benefit pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado, who also are coming over from Boston, and former Mets prospects Yusmeiro Petit, a right-hander, and Mike Jacobs, a power hitting catcher-first baseman, both of whom were acquired Wednesday for first baseman Carlos Delgado.

 

Petit, a Venezuelan who turned 21 on Tuesday, went 9-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 118 innings at Double A Binghamton (N.Y.) last season and figures to compete for a spot in the Marlins' rotation next spring. And the lefty-swinging Jacobs, 25, who hit .310 in a trial with the Mets last summer after winning Eastern League MVP honors, could step into Delgado's spot.

 

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Venezuelans Sanchez and Delgado probably are both at least a year from the majors.

 

Three of the four are playing winter ball in Venezuela, where Jacobs is hitting .231 with a homer and nine RBI after 27 games with Pastora. Petit is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 15 innings, and Sanchez has seven strikeouts and a 5.40 ERA in 6 2/3 innings, both for Magallanes.

 

It's Ramirez, however, who stands to make the biggest impact -- and probably has the most at stake, given his reputation. He is taking nothing for granted.

 

''You never know what's going to happen,'' he said. ``You can't just sit there. You have to keep working.''

 

He is honing skills this fall with Licey, a preeminent team in the Dominican winter league. He entered Wednesday hitting .258 with 10 RBI in 26 games.

 

Ramirez, who turns 22 next month, already has played five minor-league seasons and has hit at least .310 in six of his eight stops. In fact, his .271 average at Double A Portland (Maine) last year is a career low. He still stole 26 bases -- the second time in three seasons he has stolen that many -- and drove in a career-high 52 runs.

 

And though his new team might be rebuilding so fast that it's hard to keep track of who's coming and going -- Ramirez learned of the Delgado trade from a reporter -- he isn't willing to concede anything as far as the standings go.

 

''Boston was a team like Licey. They won every year. They have to win,'' he said. ``And I'm used to that. With the Marlins, we're going to do the same thing. Every day you have to go out there to win.''

 

Yet if that's not enough, there's one more reason why Ramirez is excited to be a Marlin.

 

''Ah, Miami, Miami!'' he said with a laugh. ``It's beautiful. Very beautiful. There's many Latinos there, and the people are great.''

 

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I heard Castillo already gave him a call to welcome him to the team. Hopefully they hang onto Luis, that'd be a great guy for Ramirez to be around for a while.

 

Not always a bad thing having a roster full of young guys busting their assses to make a name for themselves & win a starting spot on a big-league club. :thumbup

 

Unless they're a bunch of scrubs that is, but in our case we've got some top-notch prospects.

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I heard Castillo already gave him a call to welcome him to the team. Hopefully they hang onto Luis, that'd be a great guy for Ramirez to be around for a while.

 

Not always a bad thing having a roster full of young guys busting their assses to make a name for themselves & win a starting spot on a big-league club. :thumbup

 

Unless they're a bunch of scrubs that is, but in our case we've got some top-notch prospects.

 

 

Little Luis is awesome. I really hope he doesnt get traded. The infield needs a veteran player :lol

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