Aramis Ramirez is on the verge of reaching some significant personal milestones this season. Just don't expect to hear the Milwaukee Brewers' veteran third baseman talk much about it. "My personality won't let me do it," he said recently. "I'm not a numbers type of guy. I don't look at my numbers until the end of the season, usually. You're aware of what's going on, but I don't really pay attention to that as much as trying to be healthy, play the game every day and trying to win ballgames. "I'll look back on my career when I retire. Then I'll see where I'm at." Heading into the Brewers' weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park, Ramirez needs 20 hits for 2,000, 29 runs for 1,000, 22 doubles for 450 and five home runs for 350. Ramirez is also tied with the Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre for the sixth most homers in major-league history by a third baseman with 342. Signed to a three-year, free-agent deal to replace Prince Fielder in the cleanup spot in 2012, Ramirez delivered one of his best seasons to date. Overcoming one of his traditional slow starts, the 34-year-old hit an even .300 with 27 homers, 105 runs batted in, a National League-leading 50 doubles and an NL high-tying 80 extra-base hits to go along with a .540 slugging percentage and .901 OPS. He also played the best defense of his career, leading all major-league third basemen with a .977 fielding percentage, and finished ninth in balloting for NL MVP. An average season for him over his 16-year career? A .286 batting average, 85 runs scored, 37 doubles, 30 homers, 108 RBI and an on-base percentage of .344. It's the type of consistency that very few players are able to accomplish — especially over such a long time. "You look at those career numbers, and they're impressive," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I played with Mike Schmidt for a couple years, and he was impressive. Impressive with what he put into the game every day, the mental part of it. He was incredible. "Last year, obviously what he (Ramirez) did for us in the fourth spot was huge, trying to pick up after a 'pretty good' hitter in Prince. He's very professional about his job, and he can play." Ramirez was off to a good start this season when, four games in, he sprained his left knee on a slide into second base. It was the second time in a month Ramirez did so, almost an instant replay of a slide into second base in spring training, and it landed him on the 15-day disabled list. He missed 23 games and has admittedly been at much less than 100% since returning May 3. It's been a tough situation for Ramirez, who has been remarkably durable. The worst injury Ramirez ever suffered was with the Chicago Cubs in 2009, when he dislocated his left shoulder while trying to dive for a ground ball against the Brewers at Miller Park. He missed a little less than two months and played a career-low 82 games (since becoming a starter). "I've been blessed in that I've never had a major injury before," Ramirez said. "I've been on the DL here and there but have never missed a year or a long period of time. That helps. And I work hard. "I force myself to stay in shape. I'll be 35 next month, so I have to work even harder now. I do, and I try to stay on top of my game. I pride myself on being a good player — I don't want to be just a regular player. I want to be good."
Aramis Ramirez has been steady hand at third for Brewers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | May 24