During a recent appearance on MLBN Radio, Marlins hitting coach Eduardo Perez had plenty to say about Hanley Ramirez. While much of the offseason focus on Hanley has been over his switch to third base -- "Will he do it or not?" -- Perez is most concerned with how Ramirez recovers from his offseason shoulder surgery.
"Everybody talks about, well, he's hitting, he's swinging and I'm really happy he's doing that being the hitting coach of the Marlins, but at the same time what I worry about is not just the BP fastball, but what about in-game situations, that check swing?" Perez said. "That's where a lot of strength goes into holding on to your swing. Or when you get fooled on that slider down and away, it's all shoulder there. That's the big test. That's the one where Hanley is going to have to be very careful." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
"That's one thing I don't want Hanley to do is completely change his swing," Perez said. "Last year, before he got hurt, he was on a roll. We had him right where we wanted to have him offensively and with the right mindset. His average was going up...and all of a sudden he gets injured. Hopefully that shoulder will be strong enough to make sure he can finish high and complete his swing and be as aggressive as he has been throughout his career." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
Perez also went on to note how moving to third base should help Ramirez physically over the course of the season; it's a less demanding position than shortstop, and should allow him to keep his legs fresher. It will certainly take some adjusting to, but moving to third base should help Hanley's production and health in the long run.
In an offseason where the Marlins have been somewhat reluctant to speak on the record about Hanley Ramirez, it's refreshing to hear some uncensored comments from Perez. He's speaking his mind, and I think he's exactly right that Hanley's shoulder surgery is a much larger concern than the position switch. Making the mental switch to third base could challenge Ramirez, but if the Marlins want to compete next year, they need a healthy Hanley Ramirez to lead their lineup.