In what ranked as one of his most revealing interviews since becoming a Marlin, Hanley Ramirez said he feels like he's played like "(expletive)" this season. Let's just say that word, which cannot be printed in a family newspaper, is a compound word using "horse."
The National League's reigning batting champion is hitting .292, or 50 points lower than the average he finished with last season. He's struggled against left-handers, in particular, batting just .217 against southpaws, far below his .309 career average against lefties, and is hitting only .244 with runners in scoring position,
"I know what I've got to do to get back on track," Ramirez said. "It's not like I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I know what I'm doing. I don't know what's going on against lefties. I used to crush them, me and (Miguel) Cabrera my first and secondyear."
Ramirez said that in trying to be aggressive, he is chasing bad pitches "and getting myself out."
"I don't like being a .200 (sub-.300) hitter," Ramirez said. "It's not me."
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez senses that Ramirez is battling fatigue.
"I have to say he is a little bit tired," Rodriguez said. "I don't think it's a lack of effort on the field. His body is tired. And it's showing on the field. It's showing on his swing. He's a little bit late on his swing. So he needs to get over that, more mentally than physically I would say. But, being Hanley, he knows how to get over that, especially now, three games before the All-Star break."
Rodriguez said he has been asking Ramirez if he needs a day off, but the shortstop always refuses.
One day after saying he was undecided about participating in Monday's Home Run Derby as part of All-Star festivities, Ramirez said he would likely take part.
But Ramirez said he is more concerned about improving in the second half.
"I feel it in my heart we're going to have a good second half," Ramirez said. "And I want to be there."
Ramirez feels pitchers are attacking him differently than they have in the past.
"The only thing is pitchers say 'Don't let Hanley beat you,'" Ramirez said. "And I'm going to have to start taking my walks, and let Cantu and Uggla (drive in the runs). Because I think last year I was getting a good pitch to hit, and this year there's not a lot of mistakes, so it's not easy."