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Meet the new Hanley Ramirez; same as the old Hanley Ramirez?

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez homers twice in win, is starting to look like dominant hitter of last season
Ramirez, a free agent this fall, says contract situation wasn't a factor in slow start. Now he's in a groove

Got it all figured out, this Hanley Ramirez?

Looks like a superstar last year, then something else this season, and now he’s suddenly crushing the ball again. In his last six at-bats, Ramirez has six hits, including two home runs, and six RBIs.

“I didn’t do anything different,” Ramirez said. “Really. I just see the ball and swing out of my [fanny].”

Manager Don Mattingly had just said Friday that it seems like as Ramirez goes, so go the Dodgers. Ramirez wasn’t arguing.

“That’s why I haven’t been smiling a lot, because I know that,” Ramirez said. “There’s nothing I can smile about. People wonder why I’m not smiling. Because when I go, the team go, and I haven’t been going lately.”

Ramirez said he feels the responsibility.

“Everybody does,” he said. “For my job, for the team, for the fans, and L.A. -- for everybody. This is the job. You don’t come here just to play the game, [but] to win every day. It’s what you get paid for, to win championships. But first you have to win every day.”

On the season, Ramirez is hitting .265 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs. Not bad, but not the electric stuff seen so often last season. Ramirez can become a free agent at the end of the season and has had preliminary discussions about a new contract with the Dodgers, who are interested in bringing him back.

But Ramirez, 30, said the uncertain contract situation isn’t responsible for his so-so start.

“I can live with whatever I got in the bank right now,” he said. “I just try to keep my mind relaxed.”

He has earned more than $71 million in his career, but is still looking at a potentially huge payday.

Ramirez did note, “I’m two, three months from being a free agent.” But, he added,  “I’m not thinking about that. I’m just going through the season, that’s it. I have a goal to do.

“Let’s win first. I’m here. I’m a Dodger.”

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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