Hanley Ramirez, Benched Again, Rips Manager Fredi Gonzalez
Ramirez didn't speak to the media Monday night, but he had plenty to say the next morning, and little of it is likely to ease tensions in the Florida clubhouse.
"It's his team. He does whatever he [expletive] wants," Ramirez said (via Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post), when asked about Gonzalez's decision to pull him. "There's nothing I can do about it. It's brutal."
The Florida manager, for his part, isn't backing down.
"We don't want that in this organization, that kind of stuff -- from A ball to the major leagues. We don't want the game played like that in front of our fans," Gonzalez said.
Ramirez fouled a ball off of his ankle earlier in the game, the same ankle that he accidentally kicked the ball with before chasing it down in left field. The All-Star shortstop indicated the injury affected how quickly he could go after the ball, and said it was part of the reason he wasn't starting Tuesday.
"I wasn't trying to give up. That was the hardest I could go after the ball," Ramirez said.
From there, he threw several more barbs in his manager's direction.
"That's OK. [Fredi] doesn't understand that. He never played in the big leagues," Ramirez said, when asked about his injured ankle.
Gonzalez, who played six years in the minor leagues, had a similarly curt response to that.
"He's right. But I know how to play the game," Gonzalez said. "I know the effort it takes to play this game and I know it's hard to play this game."
Said Ramirez when asked if he had lost respect for his manager: "A little bit. We got 24 more guys out there. Hopefully they can do the same things I do. They're wearing the Marlins uniform."
But he also indicated he didn't feel he was getting much respect in return.
"I respect everybody, but I don't know if I get the same respect back," Ramirez said.
The shortstop said he had no plans to apologize to his teammates for Monday night, which makes sense since he doesn't think he did anything wrong.
That isn't likely to sit well with Gonzalez or his teammates. Wes Helms, one of the leaders in the clubhouse, said "it would be good to hear [an apology] from him.
"One of the best things to cure anybody is to talk about it. It would be nice. It would be."
Helms echoed his manager's disappointment with Ramirez, saying, "To just flat-out not hustle, that's one of the things, I can't cope with that. That's one of my pet peeves. I can't stand two things in baseball: Guys who don't hustle and guys who don't work. ... I can't overlook it. I know people say that's just the way he is. But you know what? That's not the way it is. That's not the way the game's supposed to be played. And that's what we want from Hanley."
Gonzalez, who said he spoke briefly with his star shortstop Tuesday morning, hinted that until Ramirez apologizes to his teammates he might not get back in the lineup.
"I think he needs to talk to his teammates a little bit," he said. "Whatever feelings he has for me are fine and dandy. We don't have to get along but I think he needs to get along with the 24 other guys on his team and when that happens we'll run him back in there."
Based on the talk coming from all parties, a resolution might not come quickly or easily.
There's pretty clearly some history of conflict between Gonzalez and Ramirez -- Hanley admitted as much, saying this wasn't the first incident between the two.
Ramirez, who is maintaining he is banged up and gave full effort on the play, clearly feels he was shown up by his manager. But Gonzalez pretty obviously has the support of at least a significant portion of his clubhouse.
The two need each other. Ramirez, signed through 2014, is going to be a Marlin for some time. Gonzalez's job security, meanwhile, has been the subject of some speculation already this year, with owner Jeffrey Loria expecting the team to make the playoffs. The Marlins came into Tuesday five games behind the Phillies in the NL East. Making a run at the division or the wild card will be a lot easier with Ramirez -- one of the five best players in baseball -- in the lineup.