<
>

Hanley Ramirez sits after being extolled for his hustle

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With an exchange of nods in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell let Hanley Ramirez know he wanted to talk to him. Moments later, Ramirez was in the manager’s office, where Farrell let him know he would not be playing Thursday.

Why the day off when Ramirez had come out of the lineup on Monday after playing just two innings because of dizziness? Farrell mentioned the artificial surface of Tropicana Field, and also how much running Ramirez has been doing of late.

In Wednesday night’s game, Ramirez scored from first base on Mike Napoli's two-out single in the third and would have scored from first on Napoli’s double in the fifth if the ball hadn’t hopped the fence for a ground-rule double.

“Obviously, he’s been on base a lot and running continuously," Farrell said. “He’s been playing extremely hard. We just want him to stay healthy."

Ramirez, who was running on the pitch, blew through Brian Butterfield's stop sign at third to score on Napoli's single to center. Kevin Kiermaier's throw was way off line, so Ramirez scored easily. A good throw would have gotten him out by 10 feet.

No third-base coach likes to see his stop sign ignored, and Butterfield is no exception. On the other hand, the Sox have encouraged Ramirez to be aggressive on the basepaths, and they are certainly not about to criticize him for hustling, a quality that has not always been a part of his repertoire. Ramirez's power will gain him respect in Boston; hustle will win him affection.

Ramirez said he made up his mind to try to score when he reached second base.

“I saw how deep [Kiermaier] was playing," he said. “I anticipate everything. They were playing way back, and that’s when I decided to go."

Ramirez, 31, demonstrated considerable speed on both forays around the bases Wednesday night, and has a stolen base to his credit this season. In spring training, he said he was still capable of stealing 20 bases, a total he reached in each of his first six seasons in the majors, the last time in 2011.

“I said that?’’ he said Wednesday. “I was lying."

He laughed.