Free-agent first baseman/designated hitter Hanley Ramirez reported to los Tigres de Licey in the Dominican Winter League and will soon be playing in games for the team, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Ramirez is on the comeback trail after undergoing shoulder surgery in July to correct a shoulder issue that was said at the time to have been bothering him for “years.”
The 36-year-old said during a radio appearance with 102.5 FM in Santo Domingo that he hasn’t considered retirement and is still hopeful of returning to the big leagues. The DWL will provide a showcase for Major League scouts in that regard, and it’s certainly conceivable that with a decent showing, he’ll parlay that into a minor league deal and an invitation to Spring Training with a team.
Ramirez was released by the Red Sox early in the 2018 season — a surprise move at the time — and opted to sit out the remainder of the season despite receiving interest as a free agent. Upon signing a minor league deal with Cleveland in the 2018-19 offseason, Ramirez revealed that he had wanted to take some time off to allow his body to heal and to put himself in the best shape possible for his next opportunity. He broke camp as the Indians’ Opening Day designated hitter this past March, but the months of rest apparently didn’t do the trick for his shoulder; Ramirez hit just .184/.298/.327 with a pair of homers in 57 plate appearances before being released by the Cleveland organization.
It’s unlikely that any club is going to look at Ramirez as an everyday option in the field at this point, so his best bet is likely to sign with an American League club. Perhaps the forthcoming addition of a 26th MLB roster spot will make NL clubs more willing to carry a part-time first baseman/interleague DH/pinch-hitter, but Ramirez will need to first demonstrate that he can still hit before garnering any type of interest.