“Like I told Panda [Pablo Sandoval], we’re not trying to make the team, we’re just trying to get ready," said Ramirez, who drove in five runs with his three-run home run and two-run single in Boston’s 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday in JetBlue Park.
Ramirez, who has been hitting the ball with authority the last week, rattling line drives regularly to left field, is now batting .300 this spring. Not that he’s paying close attention.
“I've been feeling comfortable with what I’m doing to get ready," he said. “I tried to slow my swing down, hit hard ground balls to second. Then when you’re feeling like you’re right there, let it go now and see what happens."
Good things, clearly. One major-league scout who was at Sunday’s game said he saw a lot of Ramirez last season, his last with the Dodgers. “He was the best hitter on that team," the scout said. “To me, he’s one of the top five hitters in the game."
Most of the attention on Ramirez has been focused on how well he adapts to playing left field. So far, no issues, though back in Kenmore Square the Wall awaits. But that may prove to be more a positive than negative, given the number of dents Ramirez is likely to create with his bat, enough to compensate for whatever problems it creates when he’s pursuing fly balls.
Ramirez wasn’t sure of his history as a spring hitter. “The only one I know was when I tried to make the team [the Florida Marlins] in 2006," he said. “I had to go hard every inning. Now I’m older, and you work on things."
All nine starters employed by John Farrell hit safely Sunday, with Sandoval and Mookie Betts also having two hits apiece. The Sox led 7-0 after four innings, tagging Phillies starter Jerome Williams for 10 hits and five runs in the first three innings.
The knuckleballer, Steven Wright, went four scoreless innings, giving up a couple hits and a couple walks. He is making a solid case for being the first pitcher the Sox summon from Pawtucket if they need a starter, although one scout in attendance Sunday said he thought Wright wasn't as effective after his first 35-40 pitches and might prove more useful in long relief. That’s not how the Sox see him at this stage; Wright said he just wants to help in any way he can.
Clay Buchholz, staying on track to pitch the regular-season opener, pitched an intrasquad game against Sox minor leaguers Sunday and threw five hitless innings, striking out 10 and walking one.
Shane Victorino, who has reverted to batting exclusively from the right side, had a hit in three trips and is scheduled to play the second of back-to-back games Monday.
Koji Uehara remains on track to throw off a mound by the end of the week.