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.
Via beat writer Sean McAdam of CSNNewEngland.com …
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.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.