Alexei Ramirez promises to improve on disappointing 2012
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com February 18, 2013 11:16PM
Shortstop Alexei Ramirez follows through on a two-run single in the first inning Wednesday. | Gail Burton~AP
Updated: March 20, 2013 6:31AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Free-swinging shortstop Alexei Ramirez got this far by being who he is, so manager Robin Ventura doesn’t
expect him to become a selective hitter overnight.
‘‘My game is not going to change,’’ Ramirez said Monday. ‘‘But I’m aware I need to hit the ball the other way a little more and try to do that.’’
An improvement on the 16 walks he settled for last season after drawing 51 in 2011 would be nice, though. While driving in 73 runs and batting .265, Ramirez saw his on-base percentage drop 41 points to .287. He scored 59 runs after scoring 81 and 83 the previous two seasons.
‘‘You can put [being more selective] into his mind, but that’s how he got here — being aggressive,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘You can tweak that to a certain extent, but I don’t see him all of a sudden taking a bunch of pitches and walking 60 or 70 times a year.’’
Ventura said Ramirez, who is
entering his sixth season in the major leagues — all with the Sox — can be a better hitter, though, by using more of the field.
‘‘You can move it around,’’ Ven-
tura said. ‘‘He got to a point last year where he was pulling the ball only and was susceptible to off-speed stuff. And when he did have spurts when he was going well, he was going the other way and covering the strike zone better.’’
Ramirez, who played through a sore left wrist that bothered him for much of the second half to get on the field for 158 games last season, said he wasn’t happy with his performance in 2012. He had career lows in batting average, home runs (nine), walks, slugging percentage (.364) and on-base percentage.
‘‘What happened last year, I learned from it,’’ said Ramirez, who won the Silver Slugger Award as the American League’s top-hitting shortstop in 2010. ‘‘It’s more of an experience for me. I feel very good, and I don’t think it’s going to happen again.’’