A lot was made of Hanley Ramirez's move from shortstop to third base for the Miami Marlins over the offseason, but the slugger is off to a good start both on and off the field in spring training.
How will Hanley Ramirez
react to moving to third base? Will he sulk about giving up his position to new shortstop Jose Reyes
? Those questions dominated the Marlins' offseason, but so far it appears they are moot.
So far this spring, Ramirez has been healthy, productive and, perhaps most important, happy.
He made his first error at third base on March 8, missing a hard-hit but playable grounder by the Mets' Lucas May that shot past his glove. But he also led off the fifth inning with a home run off Frank Francisco, which provided the difference in the Marlins' 5-4 win over the Mets.
It was just one exhibition game in early March, but manager Ozzie Guillen said it's an example of how Ramirez can help the Marlins this year.
"This kid can carry the ballclub," Guillen said.
Ramirez also hit the very first Marlins home run at Marlins Park, an opposite field shot March 7 against the University of Miami.
His early production is encouraging because he had surgery on his left shoulder in September.
"He's healthy. That's the main thing -- Hanley is healthy," Guillen said. "When Hanley is healthy, he can be one of the best hitters in the league. I think right now he is having fun, he has swung the bat pretty good the last couple of games."
Marlins Notes & Quotes
RF Giancarlo Stanton was taken to the hospital for X-rays after he was struck in the left wrist by a pitch Sunday. But the team later said Stanton sustained only a bruise.
Stanton was struck by a fastball from New York Mets pitcher Chris Schwinden with the bases loaded in the third inning of the teams' spring training game. Assistant trainer Mike Kozak and manager Ozzie Guillen cut Stanton off as he headed toward first base, and he was taken out of the game.
LF Logan Morrison is still feeling soreness in his right knee, which underwent arthroscopic surgery in December. He played March 6 against the University of Miami but he said he felt soreness jogging off and on the field. He was scratched from the lineup March 8.
IF Greg Dobbs was scratched from the lineup March 9 because of tightness in his left hamstring. He doesn't consider the discomfort serious but wants to rest a few days to make sure it doesn't get worse.
RF Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-3 in his first exhibition game at Marlins Park on March 7. But the slugger isn't too concerned about the new park's generous dimensions, which the team purposely designed to benefit their pitchers.
"I don't know if anyone noticed but Sun Life (Stadium, where the Marlins played from 1993-2011) wasn't very hitter-friendly, either, so it's not that big of a deal," said Stanton, who hit 23 of his first 56 home runs at Sun Life. He led the team in home runs last year with 34.
RHP Josh Johnson attended the final day of Honda Classic golf tournament on March 4 to help stay relaxed before his first Grapefruit League start on March 5. But somewhere along the links, a caddy recognized Johnson and offered an inadvertent reminder of Johnson making just nine starts last year.
"He had me in his fantasy league last year. I just told him, 'Sorry,' " Johnson said.
LHP Chad James, the 18th overall pick in the 2009 draft, was re-assigned to minor league camp. James, 21, went 5-15 with a 3.80 ERA in 27 starts for Class A Jupiter last year. He's expected to open the year at Class AA Jacksonville.
Team president David Samson said the team will have at least 15,000 season ticket holders in 2012, which will be a franchise record. He also repeated that the Marlins hope to host the 2015 All Star game in Marlins Park.
By the Numbers: 51 – Pitches by RHP Carlos Zambrano in 1 1/3 innings in his Marlins debut on March 8 against the Mets. Manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't worried about the high pitch count because Zambrano pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League.