Boston Red Sox designated hitter Hanley Ramirez credits Tom Brady’s TB12 Method for helping him get in shape for spring training.
Spring training is the time of year when every player claims they are in “the best shape” of their lives. When Boston Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez says it, he may actually mean it.
Ramirez reported to camp in Fort Myers this week in noticeably better shape than he was in at this time last year. A shoulder injury prevented him from taking the field at first base last spring and the lingering issue hindered his performance at the plate throughout the season.
Not only is Ramirez now healthy, he adopted a new offseason regimen based on the TB12 Method after reading the book published by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Ramirez revealed to reporters at Jet Blue Park that he shed 15 pounds over the winter with this routine. He focused on strengthening specific muscles and used rubber bands to improve pliability.
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Pliability. There’s that word that has become synonymous with Brady. The 40-year old delivered an MVP campaign and led the Patriots to another Super Bowl appearance last season. If staying “pliable” can help Brady achieve all that at his age, it couldn’t hurt the 34-year old Ramirez to give his method a shot.
Ramirez is coming off a disappointing season in which he hit .242 with a .750 OPS. His home run total dropped from 30 in 2016 to 23 last season, highlighting the lack of power theme that hovered over the Red Sox all year. Ramirez noted that he hit 23 homers while essentially swinging with only one arm due to his shoulder woes. If a healthy Ramirez can regain his 30+ homer form it will go a long way toward solving the power drought that plagued the team last season.
Avoiding injury may be easier said than done for a hitter who hasn’t played in 150+ games since 2012. He won’t reach 30 homers if he can’t stay in the lineup. Perhaps the improved conditioning from following the TB12 Method will help him avoid injury. It’s worked wonders for Brady.
Staying healthy won’t guarantee Ramirez a spot in the lineup. His $22 million option for 2019 gives the Red Sox incentive to limit his playing. He needs 497 plate appearances for the option to vest. Ramirez needs to perform in order to convince the team to give him enough playing time for that option to kick in. As manager Alex Cora said, if he hits, he’ll play.
It will be difficult for Ramirez to not have thoughts of that vesting option lingering in his mind. Especially once the season starts and he gets a better feel for how much playing time he’ll receive. If the Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez or another big bat in free agency, it could further limit Ramirez’ playing time. Yet, to his credit, Ramirez says he’s not thinking about his contract. His focus is on producing and helping the Red Sox win. If he does that, the rest will take care of itself.
It’s too soon to tell if Ramirez’ new workout will lead to improved production. There’s only one Tom Brady and it’s unreasonable to assume any athlete can achieve that level by following his advice. However, if there were any athlete for an aging veteran like Ramirez to emulate, it’s TB12.