Another day, another MLB star committing to his team of choice for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Today, it’s Boston Red Sox’s Hanley Ramirez joining Team Dominican Republic. Hanley, who played in the 2013 Classic, will help the DR defend its championship in March. He announced his plans to play in the WBC once again at David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament on Friday. His desire to play more baseball before the 2017 season starts does not stop there, as he is waiting for approval to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Hanley was born in Samana, Dominican Republic, and attracted the attention of MLB scouts while playing High School ball there. He signed with the Red Sox out of the DR at 17-years-old. He’s had his ups and downs in his career, but Hanley put together one of the best seasons in his career in 2016. He slashed .286/.361/.505 with 30 homers and 111 RBI for the Red Sox while proving he can succeed at first base.
Ramirez played third base for the Dominican Republic in 2013 during their championship run, collecting two homers and three runs batted in in eight games. In the championship game against Puerto Rico, he injured his hand, later being diagnosed with a torn thumb ligament. The injury would require surgery, causing Hanley to miss the first month of the 2014 season. That didn’t diminish his desire to play again, however, as the idea of representing his country and helping them defend their title is something Hanley could not miss.
He joins Manny Machado and Dellin Betances who have both formally committed to Team DR, one of the favorites heading into the tournament. The Dominican Republic was placed in Pool C, where they will face off against Canada, the United States, and Colombia. They begin play on Thursday, March 9th against Team Canada in Miami.