Hanley Ramirez still hasn’t shifted his focus to 2016.
The Boston Red Sox entered Friday night’s home game against the Kansas City Royals last in the American League East. They sat 12 1/2 games back in the division and eight games back of the AL’s second wild-card spot with nine teams ahead of them — 10 if you count the Toronto Blue Jays, who occupy the league’s top wild-card spot.
Yet Ramirez isn’t throwing in the towel.
“I never worry about myself, I worry about the team,” Ramirez told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford after Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Royals. “I’m just looking forward to seeing what we’re going to do. Not just me, as a team. Keep the momentum into next year. And anything can happen.
“The season’s not over. This is baseball. Anything can happen, so we have to keep playing. We can shock some people. Season’s not over.”
Technically, Ramirez is correct. The Red Sox mathematically still are alive. The organization has begun to eye 2016 in its decision-making, though. A late push would — as Ramirez put it — “shock some people,” to say the least.
That said, it’s worth noting Ramirez put in some extra work with Red Sox outfield coach Arnie Beyeler before Thursday’s game. The club hiring Dave Dombrowski as its new president of baseball operations really has magnified Boston’s evaluation process for the remainder of this season.
“I’ve never been in this situation, so we just try and control what we can control,” Ramirez told Bradford. “Go out there and compete every day, and everything else is going to take care of itself.”
Ramirez entered Friday hitting .257 with 19 home runs, 53 RBIs and a .735 OPS in his first season back with the Red Sox after signing a four-year, $88 million contract last offseason. It’s been a disappointing campaign, especially from a defensive standpoint, which creates questions about his long-term future.
It’s encouraging to hear such enthusiasm, at least.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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