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Ramirez bring options, value with big bat


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Max Ramirez's ability to hit probably isn't enough for him to fit into the Royals' plans, at least not right now.

Ramirez, a muscular right-handed hitter, made his presence known with a grand slam in a 16-4 romp over the D-backs on Monday. Last year he was a .300 hitter with 17 homers for Triple-A Omaha as a designated hitter (58 games), catcher (39 games) and first baseman (11 games).

Those roles in Kansas City, of course, are filled by Billy Butler, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer. But, in case of an emergency, who knows?

"He's not just limited to behind the plate, he can play some first base," manager Ned Yost said. "He's probably a third-string catcher, but with his bat, he's got a ton of value as a guy who could help us somewhere over this year."

Ramirez hit his slam off D-backs left-hander Steve Garrison, a drive to deep center field, and Adam Moore followed with another long blast to center.

"Everybody says that Moore's was a little more, a little farther than mine," Ramirez said, chuckling. "The wind was blowing out when he did it."

Ramirez, 28, is continuing to work on sharpening his defensive skills at first base, which he hasn't played all that often.

"But he can really hit and he can especially hit left-handed pitching," Yost said.

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