CHICAGO — So, Hanley Ramirez is ready to begin his new life as a soon-to-be first baseman. He has started his workouts with infield coach Brian Butterfield, while saying all the right things when it comes to the new venture.

Ramirez has seemingly answered the first question when it comes to making the transition from outfield back to infield: would he be invested in the venture?

David Ortiz, who accompanied Ramirez in his early afternoon drill work with Butterfield, said the acceptance should come as a surprise.

“Hanley has a good attitude about everything,” Ortiz said. “It sucks that people are criticizing him, a guy who is trying to learn a new position. People always want to talk about being selfish, but I don’€™t think people know what they’€™re talking about when they talk about that because the guy gave up on his position that he’€™s good at. When he plays another position, that means he’€™s not selfish. I guess he’€™s going to give it a try somewhere else.”

Ortiz believes the transition for Ramirez won’t be nearly as challenging as what he faced when he tried his hand at left field for the first time this season.

“It’€™s not like playing in the outfield, I can tell you that,” the Red Sox designated hitter said. “Playing in the outfield is more difficult than what people think it is. You have to be super athletic. It’€™s a challenge, a big challenge. People probably think it’€™s easier to play out there than it is in the infield. There’€™s not a position that is easy to play because the minute you screw up, you screw up. There’€™s not turning back. Hanley is athletic and that’€™s why he decided to go back out there and give it a try. People have to understand this is a guy who didn’€™t play outfield before. Playing left field at Fenway is one of the toughest positions because that Green Monster is tough to read.

“He has taken the criticism, but don’€™t forget he hasn’€™t played outfield before.”

During the 15-minute workout, which included wearing interim manager Torey Lovullo’s first base glove and was followed by another ground ball session during batting practice, Ortiz did offer some advice about playing the position.

“It’€™s footwork,” the 39-year-old said. “He’€™s been an infielder his whole career so the most important thing about first base is how your footwork is going to be around the bag. When you go to the fundamentals, you just need to know where you’€™re going to be in certain situations. I don’€™t think he will have the issues he had in the outfield playing first base.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

If you expected Hanley Ramirez to resist playing first base ‘€“ surprise! He said on Tuesday that he’s completely on board.

If you expected Hanley Ramirez to resist playing first base — surprise! He said on Tuesday that he’s completely on board.

“I think with me at first, we’re going to have a better team on the field, competing every day,” Ramirez said in Chicago after working out at first before a game against the White Sox.

The turnabout certainly comes as a shock given the team’s reluctance as recently as a week ago to even work out Ramirez there this season. But the arrival of Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations and the departure of general manager Ben Cherington apparently contributed to Ramirez’s change of heart — not to mention how well the Red Sox have played with Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Rusney Castillo covering a lot of ground in the outfield.

“We’ve got a guy out there, he’s trying to put the best pieces on the field,” Ramirez said. “He was like, ‘If you put this guy over here and put this guy in left field, how would the team look?’ And I was thinking about that, too. I was thinking, ‘Yeah, we’re a way better team with me on first and with Jackie and Mookie and Casty on the field.’ Hopefully, we can do it and they can keep doing what they’re doing ‘€“ playing great outfield and keep hitting, because we’re going to need that.”

If Ramirez proved even serviceable at first, the shift across the diamond would alleviate a lot of problems elsewhere. With Ramirez in left, the Red Sox would continue receiving well below average defense. If Ramirez shifted to DH, that would take at-bats away from franchise icon David Ortiz.

But Ramirez at first gives the Red Sox hope of a workable solution, and he sounds up for the challenge.

“When I was a little kid I played all over the place,” Ramirez said. “I’m so humble, the only thing I’ve got on my mind, man, is I need that ring.”

Ramirez took the entire thing in stride, joking that reporters who had pushed for his move to first all season were actually right.

“Hopefully [this works],” he said, “so you guys don’t move me to pitch. You’re going to be like, ‘We have to put him on the mound now, he can pitch.’ I’m going to take my groundballs and do a lot of footwork. I think it’s going to save more of my body, too, my legs, so I can hit some more homers.”

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report from Chicago)

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Hanley Ramirez took his first tentative steps at first base on Tuesday afternoon.

Hanley Ramirez took his first tentative steps at first base on Tuesday afternoon.

Hours before the Red Sox prepared to play the White Sox in Chicago, Ramirez donned a first baseman’s mitt and spent time with infield instructor Brian Butterfield and DH David Ortiz, getting an introduction to a position many expect Ramirez may end up playing next year, if he’s still in Boston.

Butterfield stressed the introductory nature of the workout, which was more about instruction than anything else.

“Not a lot today,” Butterfield said. “Just the basics of getting from the position and getting to an anchor at the base, just basic elementary things. Getting his feet around the base so he can get to an anchor, we talked about adjusting to throws. Not a lot of drillwork involved, just a lot of talk. David was out there with me and he was very helpful. He’s a very good student of first base.”

Ramirez, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract this winter, has not worked out in left field at all, leading for calls to move him to first, which the Red Sox initially resisted. But their tune finally changed on Tuesday, even if there’s no timetable on when he might see game action there, if at all.

“We did just a little bit of drillwork, with the lead foot, taking the lead foot to the ball,” Butterfield said. “This game is played with your eyes. Everything is going to be very short order, very incremental. We’re not in a hurry. I don’€™t even know what the plans are, what the timeline is. He’s going to learn a little bit of something over the next month, anyway, about the prerequisites of playing first base. It was more of a chalk talk than anything.”

Ramirez, 31, is a lifelong infielder who rates as one of the worst defenders in the game, at any position, in left this year.

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report from Chicago)

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Don Orsillo was a constant in the Red Sox broadcast booth for the last 15 years.</p>
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Former Red Sox first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Middays with Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to talk about the latest with the

Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

Former Red Sox first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Middays with Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to talk about the latest with the Red Sox. To hear the full interview, head to the Middays with Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Following the Dave Dombrowski hire, Millar believes the Red Sox will be better off with a long-time baseball executive leading the way.

“He brings a presence,” Millar said. “He’s been doing this for 29 years as a general manager. Talking with him last night, he’s here, he gets the chance to be around the club … he’s going to ask questions, he wants to learn the town, he wants to learn the city. But now you know who the point man is. … There’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of meetings he’s going to have to go through — all the way to the scouting directors to the food and beverage directors to whoever he wants to see — he’s going to sit down and learn. But this man’s done it for 30 years so there’s going to be that presence and that leadership.

“You need to fear somebody in this game. Salaries dictate a lot because players make so much money these days and they don’t fear anybody, so you try to create this culture and the way to get that culture back and that discipline. So I think Dave Dombrowski is going to come in here with a plethora of knowledge and good ideas.”

With Dombrowski being president of baseball operations, he will have the final say in all Red Sox decision matters.

“Yes, he’s got enough experience,” Millar said. “… You know Dave Dombrowski had a plethora of other jobs, this wasn’t rocket science. He does some great things wherever he’s gone so he came here, and I’m sure he’s got some pull to make his decisions and why wouldn’t he? You don’t do this for 29 years and then come here and have to go down the totem pole. He’s got a relationship with John Henry. … You’re bringing in a veteran, which is basically what you got. You went out and got a veteran in the front office, not on the field.”

Coming off Rusney Castillo’s five-RBI day, Millar presented his opinion on how the Red Sox should manage their athletic, young outfield going forward.

“Jackie Bradley Jr. throws the baseball as well as I’ve ever seen in this game,” Millar said. “… He’s had some success now the last few weeks. You’re starting to hopefully see that Jackie Bradley Jr. is not the guy that’s going to hit three home runs and drive in eight RBIs every game, but he’s also not a .180 hitter. I like him. He plays all three positions. He’s a great center fielder. Mookie Betts is a great athlete that’s going to keep getting better and better and better with baseball instincts, because he’s a tremendous athlete. And then Castillo — we haven’t seen him play. So you’re starting to get a chance to see the power. He’s big and he’s strong. You see the thunder off his bat. And I think you need to get the at-bats to see what you’ve got in him. You gave him $70-plus million at 27 years old, let’s go see.

“You’ve got some dynamic scenes, it’s just how far and how long can you wait to keep waiting and waiting. I don’t know. But that’s where Dave Dombrowski comes in and sees, ‘We’ve got some talent. We’ve got some young talent. Do I have to make a few moves? Do I have to get somebody here and somebody there?’ They’ve got a great, athletic base.”

Unsurprisingly, Millar cited starting pitching as Dombrowski’s biggest need this coming offseason.

“He’s got to go get arms,” Millar said. “This game is won with the big dogs at the top of the rotation. … Go get arms and pitch, pitch, pitch and pitch. If you pitch and catch the baseball, you’re going to win games. The Tampa Bay Rays pitched and caught the baseball for many years and they won a lot of games. You can’t name five of their starting hitters.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On Hanley Ramirez: “Going into the season I thought Hanley would be much better, I’ll be honest with you. He’s a soft-spoken, nice kid, but then there’s times I want to go out there and it’s hard to watch. It’s a hard watch on the baseball field and in left field. … Hanley’s going to have to look in the mirror and ask, ‘What’s Hanley want to be in this game?’ You want to be great? Do you want to think you’re Manny [Ramirez] without the numbers? Do you want to be Miguel Cabrera? Because he can be whoever he wants, I’m not Hanley. … Can you imagine if Hanley really loved baseball and gave everything he had every single day? Then this guy’s underpaid. But if you’re going to go out there and play on just one side of the field, which is offense and that’s not even that good. Do you want to hit .338 like Miguel Cabrera and have 39 home runs and drive in 130? Then we can put blinders on him.”

On comparing Joe Kelly to Jake Arrieta: “What a great comparison to Jake Arrieta, because I worked out with Jake Arrieta a few years back when he was with Baltimore and not finding his thing, strong kid. … Then he went to Chicago and now he’s one of the best pitchers in the big leagues. Joe Kelly, Clay Buchholz, all of these guys [have] great arms, great feel, but it’s another thing to find that consistency. I love Joe Kelly’s arm, I love everything about him. … At this level, 2-1, 3-1, 2-0, you’ve got to learn to hit a spot, you can’t just sit here and throw heaters down the middle, and think, ‘Ok, let me throw a strike,’ because then you get hurt. … Some guys are [late-bloomers], but I wouldn’t give up on a guy like Joe Kelly by any means. Because the arm and the person, you like.”

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

CHICAGO — On a team full of uncertainty, Clay Buchholz’ future with the team continues to be one of the most undefined issues.

CHICAGO — On a team full of uncertainty, Clay Buchholz’ future with the team continues to be one of the most undefined issues.

The Red Sox pitcher, who continues to recover from a right elbow injury, still doesn’t know if he will pitch this season. Per the advice of Dr. James Andrews, Buchholz will begin his throwing program Sept. 2 and see where that leads him heading toward the Red Sox’ final regular season game Oct. 4.

But no matter what transpires over that time, Buchholz is confident that he doesn’t need to pitch this season in order to prove his worth for either the Sox or other teams in regards to next year.

Buchholz has a $13 million team option for 2016 that new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has to make a call after this season.

“I’ve been assured by a couple of different doctors that if the Red Sox or any other team needed any kind of word on how they should view it they would definitely call and talk to whomever they need to talk to just to reassure I’m 100 percent healthy even without throwing,” the righty told WEEI.com. “Time is the best doctor for this sort of thing from the information I gathered from Dr. Andrews. What I’m looking to do is just start playing catch.”

Buchholz did admit that there is an increased sense of uncertainty due to the change in decision-makers, considering his long relationship with former general manager Ben Cherington.

“I haven’t talked to anybody,” Buchholz said when asked about his ’16 option. “I think it would have been easier to talk to Ben about this situation because I’ve been around Ben for 10 years. Obviously, Dave is well known in his craft and he’s really good at what he does. I’m not sure what his outlook on priorities are. It’s not like there’s loyalty from him to me, so that’s one of the situation that is a little different than it was.”

For more on Buchholz, including addition comments from the pitcher, click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford