No shortstop has put up better offensive numbers in the majors since 2006 than Hanley Ramirez. Nobody has scored more runs (409) or hit more balls over the fence (86).
That’s why when he was asked Sunday about the second-longest home run drought in his career, Ramirez was able to laugh about it.
“They’re pitching me golf balls instead of baseballs,” Ramirez joked. “No. Nothing has changed. It’s nothing I can control. All I can keep doing is swinging hard and when it goes out, it goes out.”
The last time Ramirez hit one out entering Sunday was May 22nd off Tampa Bay’s Andy Sonnestine. He’s got 98 at-bats without one since, but has still hit safely in 44 of his last 55 games (.343).
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Ramirez (.328, 8 HRs, 34 RBI for the seasn) needs to change nothing about his swing.
“He’s hit some balls hard,” Gonzalez said. “He hit one here against the Yankees where he hit the scoreboard. Same in Boston. In Toronto he hit some balls hard to right field. I think he’s fine. He’ll get some pitches where he’ll elevate and he’ll hit some home runs. But I wouldn’t change a bit. I wouldn’t change a thing of what he’s doing. You don’t swing for home runs anyway.”
Ramirez said he tweaked his sore groin when he attempted to steal second base in the fourth inning on a ball that was fouled off. But he said he didn’t feel any more pain when he woke up Sunday.
“All I want to do is keep going out to win games,” Ramirez said. “That’s what I get paid for. Not to sit the bench.”
CALERO SAYS 'I'LL BE FINE': Sunday, the Marlins placed Kiko Calero – one of the most valuable bullpen arms in the majors – on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and called up Tim Wood from Triple A New Orleans to replace him.
The good news? It doesn’t look like Calero’s shoulder injury is serious. Gonzalez said he expects Calero, who was placed on the DL retroactive to his last outing against Boston Thursday, to be able to pitch as soon as his stint is up.
“I started feeling tired, like fatigued the last couple weeks,” said Calero, who met with doctors earlier in the week and had an MRI done that didn’t reveal any tears.
“I pitched against the Cardinals and I felt weird. Then, I pitched against the Blue Jays and I felt good, but not so good. Then I pitched against Boston and I felt like I threw the ball and I didn’t see the movement. I couldn’t throw it where I wanted. I didn’t want to pitch like that because I didn’t want to hurt the team.”
So, Calero, who played catch Saturday, said he met with Gonzalez and the two agreed a a couple weeks off was the best solution. Calero began the 2008 season on the disabled list with a torn right rotator cuff as a member of the Athletics and missed 66 games.
The 34-year old has excelled since joining the Marlins this season (2.09 ERA). He ranks second in the bigs in appearances (36).
“In two weeks I’m going to be fine,” Calero said. “I just need to get some strength back.”
SATURDAY HANGOVER: Several Marlins players were still buzzing about the atmosphere of Saturday night’s 2-1 win over the Yankees a day later.
The third largest crowd to watch a Marlins game (46,427) certainly made it entertaining with the 25,000 cowbells handed out before the game. Gonzalez said the only thing missing was the bunting, “that red, white and blue stuff” the put around the stadium for playoff games.
“It was fun,” Gonzalez said. “It took an hour and a half to get out of the parking lot. It was emotionally charged up. The coaches were charged up. The bench was charged up. It wasn’t because it was the Yankees. There were 45,000 people excited about a 2-1 game. You knew in the back of your head if you screw something up here its going to be game over. We didn’t.”
> Before the Marlins started batting practice I spotted Hanley Ramirez and Wes Helms exchanging a few words. Manager Fredi Gonzalez came over to separate them. I didn't see the players speak to each other after that. We'll have to see if they talk about it after the game.