FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Coming off a career-worst batting average and sizeable drop in production, Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez turned to a new offseason workout routine — he’s following Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady’s TB12 method.
The 34-year-old Ramirez felt like entering the later stages of his career that it was time to make a change. For him, who better to follow than a 40-year-old QB that just captured his third MVP award.
“I went on the Tom Brady side,” said Ramirez, who reported on Friday, a few days before full-squad workouts begin. “I think it’s 100 percent everything he says in the book, the work he does, makes sense.”
Fighting through a left shoulder injury last season that he had to be surgically repaired during offseason, Ramirez couldn’t wait to spend the winter concentrating on Brady’s workout guidelines.
“I started doing that last year at the end of the season a little bit — with the bands,” Ramirez said. “I think I was feeling a little better. I was waiting for the offseason to start 100 percent.”
Signed to an $88-million, four-year contract as a free agent before 2015, Ramirez didn’t hide from how poor he felt he hit last season.
“That was terrible,” he said when asked about his .242 average. “RBIs. RBIs. That’s how you win games.”
He said the injury greatly affected his power — just 23 homers with 62 RBIs after putting up 30/111 the year before.
“Literally, I was hitting with one arm last year and hit 23,” he said. “I should hit 30.”
Entering the final year of his contract, Ramirez has a $22-million option for 2019 that will kick-in with 497 plate appearances. He figures if he hits, he’ll play.
“You’ve got to just do your job,” he said. “If you don’t do your job, they’re going to find somebody else to do it.”
The Red Sox are hoping the changes Ramirez made from Brady’s ideas will show that he’s still a big bat in the middle of a lineup severely lacking for power last season. Boston finished last in the AL with 168 homers.
“When healthy, Hanley Ramirez is a difference-maker,” first-year manager Alex Cora said.
Cora noticed the change in Ramirez’s look, too. The slugger said he lost 15 pounds.
“I saw him today,” Cora said. “He looks a lot different than what I saw the last two years. The last two years he reminded me a lot about (former NFL linebacker) Ray Lewis — with how big he was.”
Ramirez even spent time discussing his new diet and exercise regime with some of his teammates.
“Yeah, that’s what he was talking about — him and a couple other guys,” outfielder Mookie Betts said.
When asked if Betts planned a similar change, he smiled and said: “If it keeps me around until I’m 40, maybe.”
But Ramirez knows his change in weight and attitude toward his body won’t dictate playing time. That’ll only depend on his production.
“I know that I’m going to hit and they’re going to find a place to put me in the lineup,” said. “No doubt. I know I can get 30 RBIs, 100 homers.”
NOTES: The Red Sox pitchers and catchers had a light day with the team’s annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon. When asked what’s best about his golf game, Betts smiled and said: “I’m not sure I have a strength.” . Cora said top three pitchers Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello will start getting most of their game work later in camp. “Don’t expect them to pitch against BC or Northeastern,” he said. . Boston begins games with a college doubleheader against Boston College and the Huskies on Thursday.