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John Farrell gets firsthand look at Hanley Ramirez’s fitness

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The Red Sox slugger (third from right), with manager John Farrell (second from right) and others.
The Red Sox slugger (third from right), with manager John Farrell (second from right) and others.

The Red Sox are keeping a close eye on would-be first baseman Hanley Ramirez. Even manager John Farrell is drawing a turn.

Farrell was in Florida on Monday to meet with Ramirez and gauge his offseason conditioning. First base coach Ruben Amaro and one of the team's mental skills coaches, Laz Gutierrez, also made the trip.

Ramirez, 32, missed 57 games with assorted injuries and finished the season on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He did not play in the final 35 games.

The Red Sox are moving Ramirez from left field to first base and sent him into the winter with instructions to lose 15 pounds and improve his agility.

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They're making sure the message was heard. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski met with Ramirez and agent Adam Katz on Nov. 8 in Boca Raton, Fla. General manager Mike Hazen then met with Ramirez in December.

Farrell's appearance led to Ramirez posting a photo on his Instagram page. Ramirez, smiling and appearing fit, was in a boxer's stance.

It's a bit unusual for a manager to personally observe a player working out in the offseason. That duty usually falls to an athletic trainer or strength coach. But getting Ramirez back in form is critical for the Red Sox, who have finished in last place for two consecutive years.

Ramirez had a poor first season in Boston, hitting .249 with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs. He did not hit a home run after July 11.

In December, Ramirez said his shoulder injury had fully healed and he was committed to playing well at first base. He is signed for at least three more seasons and $66 million.

Ramirez is tentatively scheduled to attend the team's Winter Weekend fan event at Foxwoods Resort and Casino Jan. 22-24.

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Four for the Hall

Jason Varitek wasn't very fond of catching a knuckleball, which made for some tough moments when Tim Wakefield was on the mound. But it's fitting the old friends will go into the Red Sox Hall of Fame together May 19.

"It's a huge honor. I'm over the moon excited about it. I'm proud to be going in with Tek," Wakefield said.

Varitek and Wakefield played together for 15 years and retired within a few days of each other after the 2011 season. They were key members of the 2004 and '07 World Series teams.

The Red Sox also selected 1920s outfielder Ira Flagstead for the Hall. The non-uniformed inductee is former team president and CEO Larry Lucchino.

Varitek, 43, was a three-time All-Star and earned a Gold Glove in 2005. He also served as team captain from 2005-11 and now works for the team as a special assistant to the general manager.

Varitek has been involved in draft decisions and trade discussions along with on-field coaching. But he sees his long-term plans as being back in uniform.

"Where that role takes me, through time, I'm not positive when that will be, but I think my greatest impact to give back to the game is on the field," he said.

Varitek was a candidate to manage the Seattle Mariners but has turned down opportunities in order to spend time with his wife and four daughters.

"I think he is a perfect candidate to be a big league manager down the road if he wishes to be," Wakefield said.

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Wakefield, 49, was 186-168 with a 4.43 ERA in 15 seasons for the Sox after being released by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is the franchise's all-time leader in starts and innings and is second in appearances and strikeouts.

Since retiring, Wakefield has served as honorary president of the Red Sox Foundation, an analyst on NESN, and occasional on-field instructor.

"I miss competing; I miss the camaraderie with the guys," Wakefield said. "But the transition into my life after baseball has been great."

Like Varitek, Wakefield can see a day where he gets more involved as a coach.

"I love to watch mechanics and pitchers. Because of throwing a knuckleball, I knew my mechanics had to be dead-on perfect to be successful," he said.

Flagstead played parts of seven seasons from 1923-29 for the Sox, hitting .295. A defensively gifted outfielder, Flagstead received MVP votes in all five of his full seasons in Boston. He died in 1939.

The Red Sox were one of the worst teams in baseball during Flagstead's tenure, losing 90 or more games six times.

Lucchino, the team president emeritus, started with the Red Sox in 2001 as part of the group that purchased the team from the Yawkey Trust.

The Sox made the postseason seven times in his 14 seasons and won three World Series.

As part of the induction ceremony at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, HP Hood and Chad and Anne Gifford will receive "Fenway Honors" charitable achievements.

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The group will be recognized during a pregame ceremony May 20.

The team also dubbed David Ortiz's grand slam in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Championship Series as a "Great Red Sox Moment."

Clemens joins in

Roger Clemens will take part in the Winter Weekend. Clemens is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion about the 1986 season along with Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Bruce Hurst, and Jim Rice.

Since retiring in 2007, Clemens has made frequent trips to Fenway Park and taken part in different ceremonies.

Other participants in the Winter Weekend panels include Hazen, Dombrowski, Varitek, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Rusney Castillo, Fred Lynn, Pedro Martinez, Deven Marrero, Dustin Pedroia, and Travis Shaw.

Farrell and the coaching staff are on the list of attendees along with Brock Holt, Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, and other players.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.