Marlins Season Preview: Ramirez Reports and Plays Third Base

Hanley Ramirez is already getting to work on how to field to his left and right from his new position at third base. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

While I may have wanted to start the Marlins season preview with some original content, I could not help but begin with some interesting media content initially brought to my attention by Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow (and our original preview content debuts tomorrow as well!), but guess who came in a little early to field some grounders?

Among those in Jupiter: Hanley Ramirez. Manager Ozzie Guillen’s son, Oney, hit him fungoes at third base Tuesday afternoon. Ramirez spoke after his workout, saying he fine with the position switching and his surgically repaired left shoulder felt great.

Click on the link to actually watch the video of Ramirez working on grounders and talking about playing his new position. Now, in the few grounders he did field, he did not look terrible, though obviously there is not much we can garner from just three or four balls fielded at one angle. Still, his interview was notable for a few interesting things:

- First off, he looks great, though the angles and lighting were a bit off. He looks slimmer to me than he did a few months ago at the jersey debut over at the ballpark. He also got rid of that awful, shaggy beard that he had, which has to be a positive for anyone watching.

- Upon questioning about if he was OK with the move to third base, Ramirez responded as expected.

Reporter: Hanley, you're OK about making the switch from short to third?

Ramirez: (laugh) I never said that I'm not going to do it, but I'm just happy to be here, one more year with the Marlins.

If anyone complains about that kind of answer, then they simply cannot be pleased.

- Ramirez said his shoulder is significantly better now, and that should be a major point of interest in 2012. The Marlins are going to need a healthy Ramirez manning third base, and if he is right in that everything that ailed him in 2011 is much improved, we could be on our way to a significant bounce back season.

Now, none of this actually means much. A lot of players probably reported alongside Ramirez to camp today. But to see Ramirez, who was a center of controversy for most of the offseason regarding trade rumors and unhappiness with the team's direction, fielding grounders and answering questions in typical athlete fashion suggests that this is nothing but another day in the ballpark for him. For Marlins fans, they certainly want this Spring Training to be as routine as all the others and not to be centered on struggles and difficulties.

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