Hanley Ramirez began fielding grounders at first base last week and acknowledged to reporters that he is being asked to move there for the 2016 season, adding that he’s “looking forward to” the change after a dreadful summer in left field.
Hanley was expected to get a couple starts at first base down the stretch in September and then focus entirely on the new position leading into 2016. But that experiment has been expedited with Hanley currently battling a left shoulder injury and Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and Jackie Bradley Jr. playing so well together in the Boston outfield.
Asked if he expected to see Ramirez play the outfield again in 2015, Lovullo answered: “I do not.”
Questioned about the change, Lovullo said there were a number of factors that went into the decision.
“I think we’ve just walked through a couple of scenarios,” said Lovullo, “and I think that with how the young kids have been doing in the outfield, we want to give them the time there that they deserve. And I think the timing of Hanley’s injury is pushing him back a little bit. It’s just condensing that ability to go and play left field until he transitions to first base.
The reworking of the Red Sox has already begun under new club president Dave Dombrowski.
Ramirez, 31, is owed $22.75 million per year through 2018. He also carries a vesting option for 2019.