JUPITER, Fla. -- More and more, the Hanley Ramirez experiment at first base seems to playing out well.
In Monday's 5-3 Red Sox win over the Cardinals, Ramirez chipped in with two standout plays at the position -- snaring a sinking low liner from Brandon Moss in the second, then stretching to grab a tough throw from Brock Holt on a grounder up the middle by Jedd Gyorko in the fifth.
With each passing game, Ramirez seems to be growing in confidence, to the point where he's hoping balls are hit to him.
"Every time someone hits a ground ball (I want it to come to me),'' said Ramirez. "It's unbelievable. I'm having a great time.''
Infield instructor Brian Butterfield has advised Ramirez to position himself lower to the ground, the better to react and see balls, and Ramirez said the tactic is paying dividends.
Holt made a terrific play ranging behind the second-base bag on Gyorko's grounder, and Ramirez wanted to stretch to make the catch and record the out.
"I'm saying, 'Let's finish it . . . let's finish the play,'' said Ramirez with a wide smile.
Ramirez has said he wants his infielders to be confident in him when they throw the ball to first, but it's clear that Ramirez has confidence in himself.
"No doubt,'' agreed Ramirez. "Every day is getting better and better and better. I feel like everybody's looking at me like, 'He's going to make a great play right here.' And it's what I expect from myself. Now that I have a chance to play [first], I'm going to enjoy it the most I can and people are ready to watch me make a great play.''
He's started to anticipate better, showing improved instincts when balls are put in play in the infield. "Exactly, that's what I'm doing right now,'' he said. "Since I've been doing that, everything's been going great.''
"Hanley's doing fine,'' said John Farrell. "Above and beyond what we're seeing with his play at first base, I think he's really enjoying it. He's [into] the game and involved in most plays. He's done a very good job.''