CLEVELAND -- No details were divulged but Robin Ventura did allow that Alexei Ramirez’s lengthy slump to start the season was about more than baseball.
The White Sox manager said Saturday afternoon that Ramirez has returned to form in the weeks since the shortstop met with Ventura and his coaches. Following Friday’s victory, one in which he had three hits, stole two bases and made three nice defensive plays, Ramirez thanked the coaching staff for their support and credited his resurgence to a “friendly meeting” in Detroit last month. Since July 1, Ramirez has hit .333/.369/.483 with five extra-base hits, eight RBIs and five steals in 66 plate appearances. He also has looked much more like the Gold Glove finalist of a season ago.
“Sometimes life is tough,” Ventura said. “There are things that go on with guys, you don’t really want to let it out. You have to live through, play through. Baseball is an everyday game and it’s hard sometimes to block some stuff out. I don’t know if its focus, but you need to go out and play to your capability. There have been times when he’s been a better player than other times. Right now he’s in a real good spot, playing great, even the last two nights arguably the best two games of the year swinging the bat and playing defense. A lot of stuff has cleared up for him and he’s able to focus on the field.”
As recently as 2013, family issues distracted Ramirez. Known for his quiet, introverted nature in the clubhouse, Ventura agreed that reading what Ramirez is thinking could be difficult. But the June meeting with Ramirez, who has a $10 million team option for next season with a $1 million buyout, has been good for all parties and clearly has helped the 2014 Silver Slugger Award winner on the field.
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“He is pretty quiet,” Ventura said. “He likes to internalize stuff. You find a way to get it out of him. Sometimes you can ask a guy and they’re not going to necessarily give it to you. It’s a game that has to be played every day and sometimes you can get through it and sometimes you cant. He’s fought through it and right now he’s the guy that we know that he is when he goes out there and plays. You see the plays he makes the last couple nights and it’s been great.
“Talk to them a lot. They have times they have to give you what you need out of them. He has fought through a lot this year.”