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Why John Farrell thinks Hanley Ramirez had ‘breakthrough’ in quest to actually play game in the field

03.18.17 at 11:08 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez has the luxury of not having to throw a baseball. That is part of his new lot in the life.

But it sure would make the Red Sox feel better about their overall plan if he did.

Ramirez’s right shoulder continues to not allow for game action at first base, limiting him to designated hitter thus far through the Grapefruit League. He can do that, of course, because with no David Ortiz, and with Mitch Moreland manning first, the dynamic is different from a year ago.

With just more than two weeks to go with the regular season, it is approaching that time where the Red Sox should start determining if this is a serious issue or not.

Red Sox manager John Farrell doesn’t believe it is.

“He had a very good day yesterday and again this morning with some of the manual patterns and resistance he’s going through with his arm,” Farrell said Saturday morning. “We feel like there’s been a little bit of a breakthrough here. We’re anticipating that throwing to continue to progress and ramp up. The goal, obviously, is still to get him games at first base while in camp, and we’re moving towards that.”

So, will Ramirez play in the field before the team leaves spring training?

“I would love there to be the most possible, but we’ll put him out when he’s first ready,” Farrell said. “He still continues to drill work and ground balls at first base. It’s not like he’s been completely absent of any work on the field. The throwing component to it, whether it’s the front end of a double play, that’s not been there. Game reactivity, game reaction, speed, we’d love to get him a handful of games before we get out of here.”

“I’m feeling better. It’s a day-to-day thing,” Ramirez said. “Day by day.”

In the meantime, Ramirez continues his work at the plate. Heading into Saturday, he was hitting .235 with an .804 OPS in 34 at-bats.

“Even where Hanley was so good at the beginning of last year, he had a tremendous year last year, but he got back to that right-center-field stroke,” Farrell said. “Even in spring training, they’re not giving him anything out over the plate. He’s reacting to some balls on the inner part of the plate. He feels good physically swinging the bat. He’s in a good place offensively, but the complete player is what we’re still striving to accomplish.”

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