KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- He has moved around the lineup most of the season but Alexei Ramirez may have found a new home -- for now.
The shortstop is set to hit third on Tuesday night for the 12th straight game when the White Sox open a three-game series at the Kansas City Royals.
While his starting there is a function of the club’s young roster, Ramirez has done nothing to make manager Robin Ventura consider his removal.
Ramirez batted third in six games in his career before Alex Rios was traded to the Texas Rangers on Aug. 9. Since then, Ramirez has a .319/.327/.574 slash line with three doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs in 47 at-bats. Earlier this season Ramirez, who hit 21 home runs in his first season and has averaged 17 homers and 71 RBIs for his career, went 451 at-bats in between round-trippers.
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“Whatever it is,” Ventura said. “He is swinging the bat better, pulling the ball with some pop. I don’t remember ever (catering to the lineup spot). Maybe it’s just a mindset he has. Maybe he’s just a little more confident. I think there’s something about batting third. Some guys like it and some guys don’t. Right now he does. You just leave him alone and let him going play.”
Ramirez has hit in six of nine spots in the lineup this season. He hasn’t hit fourth, fifth or ninth. The majority of his starts have been in the second spot, where he he's hit in 75 games.
Asked Sunday if he likes hitting third, Ramirez called the chance “special.”
“You have the opportunity to expand,” Ramirez said through a translator. “You can hit far. You can move the runner. You can bring in runs. You can single. You can do a little bit of everything, which I like. … If I’m hitting first or second, I feel like my job is to do something else, to get on base or to move the runner and if a home run happens, it happens. But if I’m hitting third or fifth or sixth, it’s a place I have to bring guys in. I have a chance to expand my swing and try to get something big if I can.”
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Whether Ramirez stays in the third spot beyond this season remains to be seen. But given his production, Ventura has no choice but to keep him there for now.
“There’s no reason not to have him there,” Ventura said. “For us right now it’s a good spot for him. He’s been doing well there.”