Reyes says he’s eager to play with Ramirez

New Miami Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes misspoke Friday talking

about the teammate he bumped to third base, Hanley Ramirez.

”I can’t wait to play for, er, with Hanley,” Reyes said.

If Reyes played for Ramirez, there would be no change at

shortstop. Instead, Ramirez is reluctantly giving up the

position.

Reyes signed a $106 million, six-year deal with Miami last week

and said he hasn’t heard from Ramirez since. There has been no

phone call, text message or Christmas card from his pal and fellow

Dominican.

Meanwhile, speculation persists that Ramirez is unhappy about

being supplanted at shortstop.

”As soon as I have the opportunity, I’m going to talk to him,

because we are very good friends,” Reyes said. ”We’re both here

for one reason – to win the World Series. It doesn’t matter where

I’m going to play or where he’s going to play.”

Reyes and another recent All-Star acquisition, closer Heath

Bell, were in Miami for appearances at team retail outlets. Both

said they expect big things from the Marlins after the team’s

recent $191 million spending spree, which also included the signing

of All-Star left-hander Mark Buehrle.

”If you see the lineup and the pieces we have, you have to

think we can compete with anybody,” Reyes said.

The Marlins went 72-90 in 2011. But thanks to the free-agent

signings, the hiring of manager Ozzie Guillen and the move into a

new ballpark, they’re brimming with optimism.

”We want to win now,” Bell said. ”The Marlins had talent last

year and in years past. They didn’t really put up the numbers they

wanted to. But you needed a few pieces to the puzzle. You get

somebody like Buehrle and Jose, and hopefully I can finish games

like I did in the past – I think that will help this talented

ballclub to win the division and hopefully the World Series.”

That sounded good to president of baseball operations Larry

Beinfest.

”These are major moves for us,” he said. ”We didn’t just

bring in players. We brought in All-Star players who want to win

world championships.”

The Marlins aren’t done shopping. They remain in the market for

a starting pitcher but have said they would be content going into

spring training with the roster they have.

With Reyes at shortstop and Ramirez at third, the Marlins become

stronger defensively at both positions, and more potent

offensively. Reyes hit .337 with the New York Mets this year to win

the NL batting title, and Ramirez – a career .306 hitter – was the

2009 batting champ.

”We can be one of the best left sides of the infield in the big

leagues,” Reyes said.

He’s so excited about the situation he doesn’t even mind losing

his familiar dreadlocks. They’ll be shorn before spring training to

conform to the Marlins’ grooming code.

”It’s going to be a new look for me – no hair,” Reyes said

with a laugh. ”It doesn’t matter, because in the past I didn’t

have any hair, so it’s not going to affect my game at all.”