Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/24/13
By JOHN PESETSKI Special to FOXSportsWisconsin.com PHOENIX It's difficult to be critical of the year Aramis Ramirez had for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012. Instrumental in the Brewers late-season surge into playoff contention the soft-spoken slugger hit .300 with 27 home runs, a league-leading 50 doubles, and drove in another 105 runs. He also played Gold Glove caliber defense committing only seven errors while posting a league best .977 fielding percentage at third base. Still, both Ramirez and the Brewers came in to Spring Training this year determined to get the Dominican Republic native off to a better start in 2013. Despite some adversity, a different approach and some help from the Major League Baseball schedule makers, Ramirez and the Brewers might get what they are looking for. "I would have like, five MVPs in my house right now if I could ever get a season off to a good start," Ramirez said early in Spring Training. "Obviously what I'm doing is not working early. I don't know what it is. I can't even explain it. If I had an answer for it, I wouldn't let it happen. We're trying to fix it though." Typically a slow starter, last April was particularly challenging. A career .285 hitter, Ramirez holds a .257 April average over his 15 Major League seasons. However, last April, his first with the Brewers, he hit only .205 with 2 home runs and ten runs batted as the Brewers posted and 11-11 record for the month. Ramirez's efforts to get off to a better start this season started in the off-season. "I worked hard over the off season to come in to camp in better shape. I'm older now and you have to do different things now than when I came up," said the 34-year old. "I came to camp two pounds heavier this year, but my body fat was way down. I'm in better shape. That helps." Coming into camp, the Brewers planned to take a different approach to Ramirez' Spring Training work, including more at bats and game action early action during the Cactus League season. Unfortunately, Ramirez strained his knee in a play at second base on March 2 and missed nearly two weeks of action. He's trying to make up for lost time by playing as much as possible in the closing days of Spring Training. "We were going to do some different things this Spring, but with the injury, I was off the field for two weeks. So, now I'm playing as much I can and trying to see as many pitches as I can. I'm healthy and I feel good. I hope I can get off to a better start." As much as the Brewers would like to see the 6-foot-1 right-handed veteran get off to a better start in 2013, his teammates know that no matter what he does in April, Ramirez will deliver. "Slow starts are just one of those things for some guys," said second baseman Rickie Weeks. "You may worry about a young guy, but for Aramis, he's proven what he can do. It's a long season and everybody here knows that even if he gets out slow, he's going to come around and do a lot for this team." While Ramirez is only hitting .226 with one home run and six runs batted in in 12 games this Spring, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is encouraged by what he's seen so far. "He's in better shape right now. I'm not saying he was in bad shape last year, but he's in better shape this year. He already looks better than he did last year. The ball is coming off his bat better. He's seeing the ball better and he's having better at bats. Those are good signs. I'm hoping that will continue on into the season." Roenicke also thinks Ramirez could benefit starting the season in climate-controlled Miller Park and other warm weather venues. Outside of a six-game road trip to Chicago and St. Louis, the Brewers play the rest of April at either Miller Park or in California. "I know sometimes weather plays a part in it," said Roenicke of Ramirez' early season struggles. "When he was with Chicago dealing with the wind and the cold, I really believe it has a lot to do with it. Some players like playing in cold weather. It doesn't bother them. Other players, it's miserable. Being indoors, I think, is a big advantage for Ramy. And hopefully when we go on the road for those two series, he won't have it too tough." In the meantime, Ramirez plans to get as many at-bats as possible and focus on success rather than struggles in the final days leading up to Opening Day at Miller Park. "I'm not thinking about the slow starts right now. I'm playing as much as I can and trying to get ready. I certainly don't want to get off to a slow start, but I don't get too worried though. Over the off-season and in Spring Training I'm doing everything I can. I know the production will come."
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?


Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker