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Hanley Getting The Bonds Treatment?


CyggyMarlin
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04/10/2008 7:17 PM ET

Opposing pitchers avoiding Hanley

Leadoff man has been intentionally walked three times already

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

WASHINGTON -- Hanley Ramirez is now getting the Barry Bonds treatment.

As the primary threat in a balanced, but still comparatively inexperienced Marlins lineup, Ramirez has already been intentionally walked three times through eight games. In his first two Major League seasons, he was issued three total intentional passes.

 

Ramirez entered Thursday tied with Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez for second in all of baseball in intentional walks. Ken Griffey Jr. is the MLB leader with four.

 

"I'm going to do it every day if I have to," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "I just fear Hanley Ramirez. I think everybody else should. It's a no-brainer to me."

 

Acta called for an intentional walk to Ramirez in the fifth inning during Florida's 10-4 win Wednesday. That time it backfired, as Dan Uggla followed with a bases-load two-run double.

 

Then in the sixth inning, the Nationals appeared to be pitching around Ramirez, who was issued three straight balls. Yet, Ramirez still was able to rip an RBI single to center.

 

"It's going to happen all year," Marlins hitting coach Jim Presley said. "Danny came through yesterday and hit the double. Until that starts happening on a regular basis, that's going to happen to him. Who's going to pitch to Hanley? Nobody. Unless you have a [Miguel] Cabrera hitting behind him, why would you pitch to him?"

 

Cabrera provided security to Ramirez in 2006 and last year. In '06, Cabrera set the team record with 27 intentional walks.

 

It's rare, however, for a leadoff batter to be intentionally walked so much.

 

"He's a special player," said Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca, a former Marlin. "The one thing about him is he will go to all fields, and hit any pitch -- inside, outside, breaking balls, sliders. He's just a very polished player. He's got a chance to be a tremendous player for a long time, which he already is."

 

The competitive National League East features arguably the best group of shortstops in the game. Jose Reyes in New York and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins are All-Stars.

 

Rollins won the NL Most Valuable Player Award a year ago.

 

"I've played with Jose, and I've played against Jimmy," said Lo Duca, a member of the Mets from 2006-07. "It's hard to separate them. They all bring something different. Hanley is more of a power threat and more of an RBI threat from the No. 1 hole. Reyes is more of a guy who is going to steal a lot of bases, but Hanley steals a lot of bases, too. And Jimmy is a little bit of everything. They are all very good in their own way."

 

Teams are looking to walk Ramirez with first base open and second base occupied, which takes away his threat to steal. Lo Duca notes that Uggla, too, is a threat.

 

"The guy behind [Ramirez] can obviously hit, too," Lo Duca said. "Dan is a good hitter. They are a lot better than people think."

 

Presley says something Ramirez has to guard against is when he is being pitched around, or the "unintentional intentional walk" situations.

 

"If they are going to pitch around him, that's where he's going to have to be real selective and real patient," Presley said. "If he doesn't know they are trying to pitch around him, then he's going to swing at either the first or second pitch. That's where he might have to adjust his thinking a little bit."

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I love the fact that teams won't hesitate to walk him. Imagine starting the game with Hanley on second after a steal, only for one of our biggest bats (Uggla, Hermida, Willingham) ALL with a chance to drive him in.

 

Our lineup is going to be a lot better than people imagine, and the guys hitting after him will reap the benefits.

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