WASHINGTON -- "Look what I have."
Those were Hanley Ramirez's words just a moment ago inside the Marlins clubhouse as he reached into his back pants pocket and removed an empty can of Skoal -- the same can he gave to Cody Ross a few days ago to help the outfielder break out of his hitting slump.
Ross, on Ramirez's urging, put the can in his back pocket right before his at bat in the seventh inning in Atlanta on Wednesday. Ramirez told Ross, who was 2 for 25 at the time, that it would change his luck at the plate.
The empty tin did more than that. It absorbed the shock of a Peter Moylan fastball, which struck Ross in the rump and left a circular, can-sized brand on his, ahem, behind.
But then Ross' fortunes improved dramatically, welt and all. He hit a 3-run homer in Wednesday's ninth inning, went 3 for 3 with another 3-run blast on Thursday, and hit a game-tying home run in the top of the ninth inning Friday night, sparking the Marlins' comeback victory.
Now Ross is hoping the lucky can can do for a fellow teammate what it did for him: bring his bat to life. And that player would be......?
You guessed it, Ramirez, who has gone 0 for 10 the past two games.
"He said that I need it now," Ramirez said.
Ross dressed the can up a little bit, wrapping it in white athletic tape and affixing the words "Slump Buster" to the top in black marker.
If the can works its magic on Ramirez the way it did on Ross, they said they'll turn it into a traveling charm, going from one player to another as the inevitable slumps come and go over the course of the season.