Hanley Ramirez will play with the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Winter League in the coming month, getting some early preparation in for 2016 after a disappointing 2015 campaign ended with him on the disabled list. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes had the news first.
Ramirez will be joining the league in the middle of the season, which started all the way back on October 21st, but Boston's LF-turned-1B has been working on transforming himself physically at the Red Sox' request in the meantime. He'll join a handful of other Red Sox prospects already participating in the league, including Licey teammates Jonathan Aro (3.00 ERA in six innings) and Marco Hernandez (.259/.284/.341 in 85 at bats). Rafael Devers, the most noteworthy prospect to head to the Dominican Republic, has hit .279/.340/.349 in 43 at bats with the Escogido Lions.
While one might assume Ramirez would be taking the opportunity to get ready for his transition to first base--and he will get some practice in with Licey--Hanley told Rojas that he would primarily play designated hitter in the Dominican Republic. Still, that will be more experience than he'd had in left by the time spring training rolled around last year.
More important than anything, though, is that Hanley's shoulder apparently feels fine. If that means we get the Ramirez of April from before he ran into the wall in left, then some questionable defense can be overlooked. So long as it's not as bad as it was in left.