Hanley Ramirez is back, and he looks ready to go.
The Boston Red Sox first baseman reported to spring training Wednesday, about to tackle a new position for the second time in two seasons. The Red Sox moved the former shortstop to first after a largely unsuccessful left field stint, and they also asked him to shed some of the bulk that accompanied him in 2015.
Ramirez appeared to oblige, according to early photos and videos from Fort Myers.
It’s quite the difference from last season when Ramirez’s physique received the attention of his teammates, fans and the media.
The Red Sox hope a slimmed-down Ramirez will come with the same numbers he put up prior to 2015, when the 31-year-old struggled at times at the plate. Ramirez has plenty to prove this spring after he played in just 105 games in his first season in Boston, posting a .249 batting average and a .717 OPS. Both of those numbers were near career lows, the batting average nearly 50 points off his career total and the OPS falling more than 150 points below his career mark.
Ramirez’s arrival actually is ahead of schedule. Red Sox pitchers and catchers aren’t required to report until Thursday, and position players don’t have to be there until Feb. 23, with the first full workout coming Feb. 24.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images