PHILADELPHIA — Whether Hanley Ramirez stood right up and said “Put me in, coach!” or Red Sox manager John Farrell had to do some coaxing, we may never know. But the fact that Ramirez was in the lineup Wednesday, at first base, in a National League stadium, was reason enough to give both men credit.
Mitch Moreland was unavailable to start at first base for at least the first of two games at Citizens Bank Park, after his left toe was hit by a pitch Tuesday night.
Farrell could have played Josh Rutledge at first base, but Ramirez wound up there — after Farrell said a day before that would not be the case. That proclamation came before Moreland’s foot was hurt, however.
How much Ramirez’s shoulders have restricted him from playing first base has been unclear all year. It’s clear he has a preference to be the designated hitter. He’s not hurt enough to go on the disabled list. He’s healthy enough to be the DH, yet the act of throwing is problematic to the point it can affect his hitting, Farrell has said.
There’s no question Ramirez is bothered by his shoulders, both of them. It’s just a question of to what extent. At some point, the Sox were going to need his bat in the lineup at first base, and on Wednesday, he was willing to do it. Whether that's because he changed his mind on his own; or Farrell (or someone else) helped convince Ramirez; to change his mind; or because he's simply feeling healthier is harder to tell.
There’s been only one other time Ramirez attempted first this season, May 10 in Milwaukee. He was pulled after three innings because his trapezius was hurting him. Hanging in a little longer Wednesday will be important.
Farrell said Ramirez has done some groundball work at first base. He may not attempt every throw that most first basemen would.
“The amount of throwing has been limited,” Farrell said. “We’ll see how the game unfolds. [Throwing is] something, if there’s a choice to be made… if there’s a ball that takes him to his backhand side and he has the ability to record an out at first base, those are all going to be in-game decisions.”