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Hanley: "I'm the shortstop right now"


            Hanley Ramirez says he would welcome having Jose Reyes as a teammate.

            But Ramirez wouldn’t say whether he’d welcome a position switch to third base if the Marlins signed the free agent shortstop.

            “I’m the shortstop right now and I consider myself a shortstop,” Ramirez said at a fundraiser on Thursday outside the team’s new ballpark.

            The Marlins met with Reyes in New York last week and again on Wednesday, but have not yet spoken to Ramirez about possibly moving to third if they end up signing Reyes.

            “I think he’s a really good player,” Ramirez said of Reyes, whom he also considers a friend. “Everybody knows that. This organization needs him. It’s good when you see the front office put the best team they can on the field.”

            But, despite being asked repeatedly about his thoughts on moving to third, Ramirez stuck to his position that, as of now, he considers himself to be the team’s shortstop.

            “My whole life I’ve been a shortstop,” he said. “I’m a shortstop.”

            Marlins president David Samson said “we’ll jump off that bridge when we get to it” when asked if Ramirez would move to third if Reyes is signed.

            “Hanley is the face of our franchise,” Samson said. “He is our superstar. I’d leave it at that. No matter who we sign, Hanley is always the person for me who is the most important person on our team.”

            Ramirez said he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from September surgery on his left shoulder and expects to be ready for spring training.

            Reyes isn’t the only player the Marlins are courting. They had free agent pitcher Mark Buerhle in for a visit on Tuesday and were in the Dominican Republic on Thursday to look at Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

            “A lot of us took a long look at Mr. Cespedes,” Samson said of the 26-year-old outfielder. “We were with him for quite a few hours. We had our top scouts there. We had our top baseball people there. They were certainly impressed with his ability.”

            Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was also on the scouting trip.

            The Marlins are among many teams interested in Cespedes, who is expected to receive free agent status soon. But Samson said he think the Marlins offer advantages to Cespedes other teams can’t match.

“We think we’re a great fit because we’re Miami and we are a natural destination for any Cuban player, any Latin American player,” Samson said. “We are the gateway to the Americas. We are the Miami Marlins, and I think that he agrees. But we have to see if we can make a deal that makes sense for both parties."