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Ex-shortstop Hanley impressing at third base

Ex-shortstop Hanley impressing at third base

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Ex-shortstop Hanley impressing at third base
MIAMI -- Adapting to third base has come rather quickly for Hanley Ramirez.

A career shortstop, Ramirez was switched to third after the Marlins signed Jose Reyes.

The transition to the hot corner was one of the most talked about moves in the game during the offseason. So far, Ramirez has made it appear rather seamless.

In 46 games, Ramirez had one error, which was tied with Washington's Ryan Zimmerman for the second fewest by a National League third baseman. And his .990 fielding percentage was second to Philadelphia's Placido Polanco, who is a perfect 1.000, not committing an error in 41 games.

Those figures changed a bit on Monday, Ramirez's 47th game of the season at third.

With two outs in the first inning against the Nationals, Ramirez committed a throwing error on Zimmerman's routine grounder to third.

The misplay, however, didn't do much damage, as Carlos Zambrano was able to strand Zimmerman at second.

Zimmerman made an error of his own in the second inning, tying him once again with Ramirez.

Overall, the progress Ramirez has made at third base has been impressive.

"He's a good athlete, and he's fundamentally sound," said Marlins bench coach Joey Cora, who works with the infielders. "He puts a lot of time into it. He wants to be good."

Even before the start of Spring Training, Ramirez was taking grounders at third base in the Dominican Republic. He continued to progress during the spring, and it's carried over to the regular season.

"He's got great feet, good arm, confidence, great hands," Cora said. "The difficult parts were going to be the situations. The catching the ball and throwing it, that wasn't going to be difficult for him. He's reacting very well.

"One of the plays he does great is the bunts, getting the ball, barehanded and throwing it. He did that as a shortstop too. But the situations are the difficult part in moving from one place to the other -- where you have to be, the cutoff man, where to throw the ball."

An area in which Ramirez has improved is ranging to his left, the shortstop side. Early in the year, he was adjusting to how far over he should range and when he should get the ball or give way to Reyes.

"He's getting better," Cora said. "Now you can tell he's reacting better. He's going to be good."

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