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Is it time to question Hanley Ramirez's heart?

It's a subject nobody in the Marlins' organization really wants to talk about. But maybe it is finally time they do. Does Hanley Ramirez have enough heart to play this game the way it should be played every day?

Hanley RamirezAs most of us suspected, the Marlins' two-time All-Star shortstop and the National League's reigning batting champion didn't leave Monday's 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks in the second inning because he fouled a pitch off his left ankle in the first. No, the Marlins' $70 million player left according to manager Fredi Gonzalez for a lack of hustle.

"We felt whether he was hurt or not hurt, we felt like the effort wasn't there that we wanted," Gonzalez told reporters moments ago after having a closed door meeting with Marlins management including owner Jeffrey Loria, who listened to every word Gonzalez said carefully.

"There are 24 guys out there that are busting their butts. Cody Ross got hit with a ball, 95 milers per hour. It wasn't thrown any slower. He stayed in the game making diving plays and battling, got two hits and an RBI. There's some injuries there [with Ramirez]. But we expect an effort from 25 guys on this team and when that doesn't happen we have to do something."

This isn't the first time Ramirez has had his desire questioned. Last September, teammate Dan Uggla questioned it after Ramirez sat out a couple games with a hamstring pull. It turned into a bit of an ugly feud in the clubhouse and Gonzalez immediately held a closed door team meeting. Ramirez, who signed a six-year, $70 million contract in 2008, eventually mended the fences with Uggla. 

But this latest bit of drama -- for not hustling after a ball he kicked away in the outfield in the second inning -- could present bigger issues. This, after all, was the first time Gonzalez called Ramirez out for a lack of hustle. And with Loria present in the room, it felt like Ramirez would likely receive a stern message from management too.

Ramirez has a reputation for being playful. But at what point does it become a lack of focus? As a side note, before Monday's game I was in the Marlins dugout with another reporter waiting for Ramirez for an interview. It never happened because Gonzalez had to come over to remind his star shortstop he was late for a team meeting in the clubhouse. "Nino," Gonzalez called Ramirez in Spanish. "Did you forget the meeting? Let's go."

Ramirez, who had been interviewed by a female reporter from Telemundo several minutes earlier but was still sitting with her, promptly got up and followed his manager to the meeting. Gonzalez didn't bring up the fact Ramirez was late for a meeting after the game, but did say his star player offered "no excuse" for not hustling.

"You guys call him the marquee guy," Gonzalez said. "I got 25 guys that are all wearing the same uniform, wearing all the same Marlins insignia in the front and I think it's disappointing if anybody [doesn't hustle], not just one guy."

When asked if Ramirez could see future disciplinary action, Gonzalez said: "You need more embarrassment than being taken out of a major league game? We'll see [if he plays tomorrow]."

Comments

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Mr. B

He's had too many doubles that should have been triples, but he didn't run hard out of the box. Instead, he's admiring what he thinks is a homerun. I love watching him most of the time, but he needs to really bust his butt 100% of the time. Baseball is not that active of a game that you are allowed to take plays off, not like football or baseball. He needs to really get that part of his game fixed, and then he will be a mega star.

Mr. B

I meant football or basketball. OOPS!

James

Hanley really needs a reality check. Maybe this will hasten it. I agree with Mr. B. that with a little more effort he could really become a superstar. If he does not take this message to heart, last year will be the top of his career and it will all be downhill from here.

Dawson

Time to trade him to Detroit for six bums from the minor leagues.

brg

Uggla had it right last year

Stan M

I thought it even more significant than the managers rebuke that when Hanley grabbed his bats and walked toward the clubhouse, not one fellow Marlin patted him or offered any encouragement.

Za

Dawson, Tiger fans will gladly welcome Hanley and his $70 million contract - just as they have Miguel Cabrera. How about 2B Scott Sizemore, top lefty relief prospect Daniel Schlereth, LHP Andrew Oliver and OF Wilkin Ramirez?

South

Za has it right. Shop Hanley and buy a nice (and badly needed) bullpen.

Za

South, we'll throw in fireballing RH reliever Cody Satterwhite, a 2nd-round draft pick behind Ryan Perry in 2008.

onemiami

Instead of protesting an Arizona immigration law at Sunlife stadium, how about protesting the lack of effort on that play from Ramirez.

Observer

I can't believe the nerve of the kid to throw back that he won't apologize and that what does Freddy know if he never played a game in the majors. That's what happens when you give players these giant contracts too early. I think he's going to have to get disciplined hard because it sounds like he has no respect at all. Time to make an example out of him.

Observer

Much respect to guys like Albert Pujols that play the right way and play hard every time. Too many divas like Hanley around. They act like they deserve the money instead of playing to show they earned the money. Sometimes I understand why teams like the Marlins and As don't give out the monster contracts. Once you give the kid the money, they just give up playing hard.

FireFrediNOW

I did not like the lack of effort by Hanley - but what I did like was Hanley putting that piece of crap of Fredi in his place. This doesnt show the respect the players have for fredi but the lack of it and he has no control of this team - he must be fired!

'witz

Mr. B is right about Hanley admiring long balls instead of running hard, turning triples into doubles, but a lot of the Marlins have been doing the same for a long time, evidently without catching hell. If I were manager, I'd decree that every long fly must be run out aggressively until the umpire signals it's a homer, and I'd bench violators every time. My other decree would be about tightening up on those wide jug-handle turns especially at third base. Turn those corners as if every step counts. Usually it does.

algionfriddo

Jimmy Rollins was benched for lack of hustle last year. Rollins came out and publicly apologized. He backed his manager. Everybody has a moment when you fail but Rollins showed class and put the matter quickly to rest. Hanley needs to grow up.

cj

Did anyone in the entire state of Florida ever think that maybe Rameriez didn't take himself out of the game because he knew his back up has a sprained ankle? Add to it the face that Ugga publicly called him out last year for "not" playing through an injury and what you have is "darned if you do, darned if you don't". If I were him, I would'nt say anything to the coach and after the game hang with my boys, to "Heck" with the "team".


cj

And yes Jimmy backed his coach, but his coach didn't go to the media and bash him. He just took him out the game, which is what the Marlin's coach did.

People wonder why some coaches like Phil Jackson win, it's because they know how to handle players and going to the media ripping a player seldom has a positive affect.

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