Hanley Ramirez batting .385 since move to cleanup spot

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Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez showed up late to the clubhouse on interim manager Jack McKeon’s first day on the job. Thankfully, things have gone far better between coach and player since.

One of McKeon’s first acts as acting manager was giving Ramirez a consistent spot in the batting order. Under former skipper Edwin Rodriguez, Hanley would bat in a variety of spots — from leadoff, to second, to third, to fifth, and even sixth.

Ramirez is now the Marlins’ official cleanup man, and looking quite comfortable in the new role.

He finished 3-for-5 with a grand slam in Saturday’s defeat of the Rangers and has scored six runs in his past four starts. In 10 games since moving to the No. 4 spot in the lineup, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the 27-year-old shortstop is batting .385 with three home runs and 12 RBI.

Hanley is still sporting a weak .230/.319/.356 slash line in 271 total plate appearances, but he’s talented enough to right many of his early-season wrongs with a monstrous showing in the second half.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.