Wed, Feb 18th 2009, 09:55
When a reporter questioned Hanley Ramirez on Sunday about his new physique, wondering whether the star shortstop for the Marlins had in fact gained 25 pounds during the winter as he claimed he had, he replied: ``Watch this.’‘
Ramirez stepped on a scale, calibrated his weight, and smiled.
‘‘224,’‘ he said. ``Close.’‘
Ramirez, who was listed at 200 pounds in last season’s media guide, dedicated himself to a strict conditioning program over the winter to help him feel and play stronger over the course of a 162-game schedule.
That meant spending at least an hour a day, five days a week, working out in a gym in the Dominican Republic and another hour at home swimming laps in his backyard pool.
The weight training added bulk and muscle to Ramirez’s torso while the swimming program was designed to strengthen his weak left shoulder, which has caused him problems in the past.
‘‘I don’t feel heavy,’‘ Ramirez said. ``I feel good.’‘
The goal, Ramirez said, is to play all 162 games this season, not that he has missed much time because of fatigue or injury.
In his three seasons with the Marlins, Ramirez has played in all but 20 of a possible 485 games.
But he said the long, hot summers in South Florida took a toll on him last year, and he started to feel weaker toward the end of the season. He decided then that, for the first time in his professional career, he would stick to an offseason workout program.
In the past, Ramirez said, he might visit the gym on occasion but never on a regular basis.
‘‘Everybody wants to be the best player,’‘ said Ramirez, who already is considered one of the best.
Ramirez has a .308 average with 79 home runs and 137 stolen bases since joining the Marlins in 2006 after the Josh Beckett trade with the Boston Red Sox. He and the Cleveland Indians’ Grady Sizemore were the only players in the major leagues last season to finish with at least 30 stolen bases and 30 home runs.
Brian King | on 18/2/09
Everyone thought i was crazy last season drafting you 1st overall in fantasy baseball over A rod, but we proved them wrong ( well you proved them wrong) but they werent laughing at the end of the season!! Also in the other league i was in , i drafted you 10th overall, now who in there right mind is letting Hanley Ramirez fall to 10? Please believe I won both leagues!! 40/40 this season im calling it.. you better not let that weight slow you down!!
Brian King | on 18/2/09
I’d like to see you pull off a 40hr/40sb this season!! Do you think you can do it? Detroit should have traded for you. What the hell were we thinking?