BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox met with veteran Hanley Ramirez on Sunday night to confirm his willingness to play first base next season and reiterate the team's desire that he lose weight in the offseason, president of baseball operations David Dombrowski told reporters Monday.
Dombrowski said club officials met with Ramirez and his agent, Adam Katz, for 45 minutes at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, site of the MLB general managers' meetings. Dombrowski requested the meeting to make sure everyone is on the "same page'' as the Red Sox prepare for the 2016 season.
"I told Hanley we're counting on him for big things next year," Dombrowski said. "I said, 'We're counting on you to be our first baseman,' and I asked him if he can play first base. He said, 'I can play shortstop. I can play first base. I can play third base.' He seemed comfortable with it.''
Ramirez, a three-time All-Star and former National League batting champion, was a major disappointment in the first year of a four-year, $88 million contract. He hit .249 with a .291 on-base percentage and 19 home runs in 105 games while spending much of the year nursing a shoulder injury. Dombrowski said Ramirez has recovered from the strained shoulder, which forced him out of the lineup on Aug. 27 and for the duration of the season.
Ramirez struggled badly in his transition to left field, and the Red Sox want him to show up lighter at spring training to ease his transition to a new position. Ramirez has made 1,069 of his 1,258 career starts at shortstop and has yet to appear at first base in a big league game.
"He understands we're much more interested in him being a little more athletic,'' Dombrowski said. "The thing about him is he's 245 pounds, approximately. He's not an overweight 245. He's a big and huge 245. We would rather have a more svelte, 230-type of weight -- not giving him a mandatory weight by any means -- but more athletic, more focused on hitting doubles, using the whole field and driving in runs than worrying about hitting the ball out of the ballpark for 40 home runs.
"Sometimes when you play left field or first base, you put it in your own mind that you have to be a power hitter. That's not the case at all. He'll hit enough home runs. We want him to be a productive hitter and drive in a lot of runs. I think he'll go forward with that type of mindset.''
The Red Sox recently dispatched Dan Dyrek, director of sports medicine service, to Florida to work on an offseason plan with Ramirez's conditioning people. Ramirez will spend the next two weeks in Florida before going to the Dominican Republic, where he plans to continue his workout regimen with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.
Shaw had been planning to play third base in the Puerto Rican winter league, but the Red Sox recently brought him home because of an impingement in his right shoulder. Dombrowski said the injury is "nothing major'' and Shaw's shoulder will be fine with two weeks of therapy.