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Hanley Ramirez Reflects on the Red Sox Experience

07.13.09 at 1:59 pm ET

ST. LOUIS ‘€“ Looking back to his days as a pup on the diamond for the Red Sox ‘€“ back in the Gulf Coast League, in Sarasota, in Portland ‘€“ Hanley Ramirez is not surprised by anything that has happened to him in his major-league career, save for one thing.

‘€œGetting traded. I never thought I was going to get traded when I was coming up with the Red Sox,’€ said Ramirez, now representing the Florida Marlins at an All-Star Game for the second straight year. ‘€œThat happened, but I’€™m happy to be here with Florida.

That is not to say that Ramirez doesn’€™t enjoy Boston, or wouldn’€™t have liked to be a member of the Red Sox. He remains ‘€œreally close’€ with David Ortiz, and described great encounters with the Fenway fans during his visit with the Marlins to Boston for an interleague series last month.

He also caught wind of the offseason rumors that suggested the Red Sox were interested in reacquiring his services. Because talks between the Sox and Marlins never advanced much beyond the exploratory phase, Ramirez never had to think too hard about returning to the franchise with whom he signed out of the Dominican in 2000, though he did consider it flattering to hear that Boston made a run at him.

‘€œThey see the way you play and they want you back, but I can’€™t control that. I’€™ve got to just keep playing hard and showing everyone I deserve to be in the big leagues,’€ said Ramirez. ‘€œThat’€™s nothing I can control, so I go like, ‘€˜Yeah, good.’€™ It’€™s good when teams are after you and you know you’€™ve got to get better and better and better everyday. I was kind of like, ‘€˜Hmmm’€¦’€™’€ he said, moving his neck from side to side as if in deep contemplation.

‘€œBut it never happened. I love Florida. I’€™m happy to be here. I wish I can end my career here. They’€™ve got a great front office, coaching staff, and my teammates are the best teammates I’€™ve had in my life.’€

While Ramirez was stunned by the trade that sent him to the Marlins in 2005, he joins the consensus of opinion that the deal benefited both sides. Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell helped propel the Sox to a title in 2007 — making Boston the only team this decade with two championships — while Ramirez is the centerpiece of the Marlins’ future.

‘€œIt really did (help both teams). Boston has two World Series, and I think we’€™ll have a couple. We’€™ve just got to keep working,’€ said Ramirez, who has an N.L.-leading .349 batting average to go with 14 homers, 13 steals and a .979 OPS. ‘€œI’€™ve got to keep working and keep getting better.’€

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