Hanley Ramirez bites back, calls Jeff Conine a “chicken”

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It took Hanley Ramirez some time to decide how to respond to Jeff Conine’s radio show comments last week, but he came out swinging Wednesday, calling Conine a “chicken” and saying that he wants to supplant the former first baseman as “Mr. Marlin.”

Conine, who is employed by the Marlins as a special assistant to team president David Samson, said Friday that Ramirez frustrates him nightly and that he’d probably trade the shortstop if it were up to him.

Ramirez said Wednesday that Conine should have addressed his comments to the shortstop personally, rather than taking it to the airwaves.

The Miami Herald has the quotes.

“If he’s got a problem, just come over and talk to me like a man,” Ramirez said. “Don’t be a chicken, talking on the (radio), because whatever you say is going to stay out there.”

Ramirez said his goal now is to take over as Mr. Marlin, a nickname given to Conine during his eight years with the club.

“I’m going to make it to the Hall of Fame being in a Marlins uniform,” he said. “This number (No. 2), nobody’s going to wear it.”

Report: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

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Update (5:16 PM ET): ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that the deal is final.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.