Slumping Ramirez taking pride in D

CHICAGO – In past years, Alexei Ramirez’s hitting woes began in April and disappeared when the warm weather arrives.

That has not been the case this season as the Cuban infielder is in a slump, hitting just .167 in his last 31 games (21-for-126 ).

“What we need to continue to do is make sure he has a plan,” said White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto. “His little funk right now isn’t that he is out of sorts because he has hit the ball hard and has been lining out and swinging at some pitches out of the strike zone. It‘s not a worrisome slump.”

The recent slump for the Sox shortstop has been frustrating.

“This is something I have never gone through for such a long period of games,”

Ramirez said through a team translator. “I will just keep working at it and get through it .”

The 30-year-old infielder is a .279 lifetime hitter and has never hit less than .269 in the major leagues. He has averaged 17 home runs and 72 RBIs in his 4 previous seasons with the White Sox.

“I work with Manto every day and the hard part is that I feel I ‘m taking good swings without getting results,” Ramirez said.

A solid defender, many scouts believe Ramirez is the top defensive shortstop in the American League. Regardless of his hitting problems, he has only made 4 errors in 43 games.

“I have learned through this experience and take pride in my defense,” he said. “As a major league player, you keep learning from good and bad things that happen in the game and try to work through the tough times.”

Ramirez won the American league “Silver Slugger” award for being the top offensive player at the position in 2010.