BOCA RATON, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez shocked the Boston Red Sox last spring training by showing up with a physique inspired by the Incredible Hulk and swinging for the fences like the Sultan of Swat.

And this was before he took his first tentative route under a fly ball in left field.

Nobody needs a reminder that Ramirez’s He-Man act was as much of a flop as his attempt at impersonating a left fielder.

Which is why in February, when Ramirez reports to spring training, the Red Sox will demand he stop pumping so much iron and trying to knock every pitch over the fences.

They told him that before he left Boston at the end of the 2015 season.

And it’s the message Dave Dombrowski, the president of baseball operations, thought bore repeating when he asked Ramirez to visit him the night before the general managers’ meetings began Monday.

“I wanted to make sure to reiterate it and have everybody hear it again – he understands we’re much more interested in him being a little more athletic,” Dombrowski said. “And the thing about him that I emphasized, when he is – whatever his exact weight is, let’s say 245, approximately – he’s not overweight 245. He’s big and huge 245. We would rather have a more svelte 230 type of weight. We’re not giving him a mandatory weight by any means. But more athletic, more focused on hitting doubles, using the whole field, driving in runs than worrying about hitting the ball out of the ballpark for 40 home runs.”

If there’s anybody on the roster who needed a radical makeover, it’s Ramirez. Dombrowski and the Red Sox are making sure he changes to suit their needs.

Dombrowski bears no responsibility for the acquisition of Ramirez last winter. But his team is on the hook with Ramirez for $22.75 million a season for the next three years. Dombrowski may or may not be able to move Ramirez to another team looking for a DH, but clearly he believes Ramirez’s mind and body need an overhaul, whether or not he’s with the Sox.

“Sometimes I think when you play left field or you play first base, you put in your own mind that you have to be a power hitter and that’s not the case at all,” said Dombrowski. “He’ll hit enough home runs. We want him to be a productive hitter and drive in a lot of runs. We want to make sure again that we’re all on the same page. And he was fine with it. He understood it and I think he’ll go forward with that type of mindset.”

Dombrowski said the 45-minute meeting with Ramirez and his agent, Adam Katz, “went great.” In a couple of weeks, Ramirez will leave his south Florida home for his Dominican Republic home for about two months, much of it to be spent training with David Ortiz, before returning to Florida.

It’s too soon to place a bet on how successful the defensive transition to first base will be, but Dombrowski reported that Ramirez said all the right things.

“I said we’re counting on him for big things next year, we’re counting on him to be our first baseman,” said Dombrowski. “I asked him if he thought he could play first base. He said, ‘I can play shortstop, I can play third base, I can play first base.’ He seemed comfortable.”

Ramirez and Ortiz will begin working out together later this month, said Dombrowski, who added Ramirez will also have his own private “conditioning individual” working with him. The club is not asking him to get a head start on first base.

“We didn’t ask him to take any ground balls,” Dombrowski said, “(and) he asked if we mind if he did some things and we said, ‘All we’re worried about is you coming to spring training healthy and ready to go. If you feel you’re capable of doing it, great. But we’re not asking you to do that at this point.’

“We’ll stay in touch on that. The meeting went great and I was impressed. He was here, he was on time, he was ready to go. Looked fine.”


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