FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez walked out the door of the Red Sox clubhouse at 8:30 on Sunday morning to meet infield instructor Brian Butterfield at Field 1. They spent 45 minutes together, working on different techniques at first base.
For part of the workout, Ramirez practiced picking balls out of dirt by fielding one-hop ground balls slapped at him with a fungo bat.
At 9:45 a.m., Ramirez was on the main stadium field to throw before running through 20 minutes of infield drills with his teammates.
Next came batting practice, then the scheduled game against the Baltimore Orioles. Ramirez was 2 for 2 with a double and stole a base in addition to playing three innings in the field with the rest of the infielders.
Further perseverance will be needed for Ramirez to succeed at first base. But the Red Sox coaches believe he has been earnest in his efforts.
“He’s doing an outstanding job thus far,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s doing what we anticipated or hoped.”
Ramirez seems to be enjoying it.
“The work that I’m doing with Butter every day in the morning has been helping me,” he said. “By game time you just go out there and take what you’re doing in the early work.
“The way he teaches, you go out there and you’re practicing like it’s a game. When you go into a game, it’s easy.”
Ramirez is 4 for 8 through three games.
“It’s more of a line-drive approach,” Farrell said. “You look at the way he finishes swings, more of a two-handed finish than the release of the top hand. It’s enabled him to be more compact.’’
The Red Sox wanted Ramirez to become more athletic in the offseason, and the stolen base was an example of that. Ramirez singled in the third inning took off for second right away, getting under the throw of catcher Francisco Pena.
“It’s a sign of all the work that I put in in the offseason,” Ramirez said. “It’s a long season. I need to continue to do the little things.”
It was a full day.
“That’s what we’re here for. I’ve got two words: passion and dedication,’’ Ramirez said with a bit of a grin. “Right now I’m just working.”
Vasquez gets start
Christian Vazquez is lined up to start on Tuesday against the Orioles in Sarasota.
It will be the first game for Vazquez since coming back from Tommy John surgery. He will catch Roenis Elias and will probably stay in the game two or three innings.
Vazquez last played in a game March 13, 2015. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow that night making a throw to second base against the Yankees. The surgery came April 2.
Vazquez caught two innings in a simulated game Saturday, made a series of throws to second base, and pronounced himself ready.
“All the credit goes to him,” Farrell said. “The work that he’s put in, the diligence he’s paid to the throwing program, all the rehab, the way he’s conditioned and reshaped his body. Kudos to Christian and all the work he’s put in.”
Uehara gets closer
Koji Uehara, who has yet to pitch in a game, threw live batting practice for the second time. He will probably pitch in a simulated game Wednesday rather than face the Pirates in Bradenton . . . When he gets on the bases, Dustin Pedroia is wearing a mitten-type device to protect his left hand when he slides. Pedroia has had three surgeries on that hand in recent years . . . The game lasted 3 hours 42 minutes. “That was a quick one,” Farrell said ruefully . . . The Red Sox had a moment of silence before the game for the late Bob Wright, a longtime employee at City of Palms Park and JetBlue Park. He was 90.