UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez benched for poor effort

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hanley headshot.JPGUPDATE: According to a tweet by Frisaro, it turns out Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez did bench Ramirez because of his poor effort on the field:

“He got smoked w’ the ball in the ankle. But
whether he’s hurt or not hurt, we felt like the effort wasn’t there.”

9:35 PM: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that Ramirez exited Monday’s game with a sore left ankle.

9:01 PM: Hanley Ramirez was pulled from Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks after just two innings, reports Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. We’re still not sure about the reason why.

There are two possible explanations. One, Ramirez fouled a ball off his left foot in the first inning. Two, I’m not going to say he didn’t hustle, but let’s just say that he took his sweet time after accidentally kicking a ball hit by Tony Abreu into the left field corner in the top of the second inning. Two runs scored on the play and Abreu ended up at third base. If his foot was bothering him, that could help to explain why he wasn’t exactly sprinting.

In any case, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez could be seen talking to Ramirez before the shortstop gathered his things and left the dugout. Brian Barden came out to play shortstop to start the third inning.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.