Leg injury not slowing down Ramirez
Marlins shortstop posts stellar numbers despite groin issue
MIAMI -- There's something about greatness that seems to exude itself in the face of adversity.
You see it all the time.
There was Michael Jordan putting up 38 points against the Utah Jazz despite being viciously hampered by the flu before Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Curt Schilling winning Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series for the Red Sox while pitching with a bad ankle -- whether or not you believe the blood that permeated from his sock was real -- and Brett Favre, who passed for four first-half touchdowns in a Monday Night Football game in December 2003, one day after the death of his father.
When people look back at the 2009 Major League season, what Hanley Ramirez is doing with a hurt right groin likely won't come close to matching the accomplishments of the above mentioned.
But it's another case of a great player taking his game to another level despite injury.
"The guys that are not very good, [injuries are] just another obstacle," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The great ones seem to not let it bother them.
"It seems like you tend to concentrate a little more and focus. So, yeah, I think there's a mindset there where you have to focus and not worry about the injuries."
Ramirez suffered a tight right groin while trying to beat out a grounder against the Phillies on May 26. Despite playing consistently, the injury has continued to bother the All-Star shortstop, and Gonzalez has said Ramirez probably won't be at 100 percent all year.
So far, though, 80 percent of Ramirez -- or whatever the exact percentage is -- seems to be better than all of most others.
Ever since leaving that game at Citizens Bank Park early, Ramirez is batting .385 (15-for-39) with four RBIs and had three multi-hit games last week. Since May 4 -- after a slow start to the season -- the native Dominican is batting at a .365 clip with six home runs and 14 RBIs.
So, despite a season that started with a sore throwing shoulder in Spring Training and currently has him nursing a leg injury, Ramirez's numbers going into the finale of a four-game series against the Giants at Land Shark Stadium on Monday look like everyone pretty much expected -- .332 batting average, eight home runs, 26 RBIs and 19 doubles.
"I think you try to concentrate a little bit harder on the task at hand when you have some sort of injury," outfielder Cody Ross said. "When you're not hurt, you're just kind of a free spirit. But when you're hurt, you have to really concentrate on doing your job so you don't get hurt or hurt it worse."
Earlier this year, first baseman Jorge Cantu came up big despite injury, too, as he won National League Player of the Week honors despite playing with a badly swollen left hand.
Ramirez admitted the groin is still bothering him, "but I'm going to keep playing and see how far I can go," he said.
As for eventually having to shut it down because it becomes too much of a hindrance?
"I don't think so right now," said Ramirez, who added that he never thinks about injuries while he's in the batter's box. "I don't know about later. But right now, no.
"I just take it game-by-game, you know? I don't think too far forward. Just go game-by-game and day-by-day."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.