Tragedy part of trying season for Ramirez

August, 7, 2013
8/07/13
6:32
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Alexei Ramirez Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsAlexei Ramirez has just one home run after averaging 15 over the past five seasons.
CHICAGO -- The 2013 season has been a challenge for Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez on many different levels.

Part of his struggles can be attributed to a family tragedy that occurred near the end of spring training when his father-in-law was killed in late March.

"I must tell you that something like that really impacts you," Ramirez said through a team translator. "It is especially difficult when it is someone very close to you. You try your best not to bring that to the field, but it is a very hard thing, a very hard thing."

Ramirez said support from his family and the White Sox has helped.

"Of course you know everyone has a family and personal life," he said. "I am very close to my family. Anything that bothers them bothers me. It is a tough thing to get over, but you must be a professional and do your job. We have had a lot of support from our family and the White Sox as well."

Known as one of the best defenders in the game, Ramirez has had surprising lapses at shortstop that have been second-guessed by fans and media alike. The Gold Glove-caliber defender has looked lost at times at a position he had mastered over his previous four years.

Ramirez has made 18 errors already this season, and he has never made more than 20 in his four years as the Sox's primary shortstop. His RBI production has fallen off significantly, as well, with just 29.

Although the power numbers have continued to drop for Ramirez, who has just one home run after averaging 15 over the past five seasons, he has been able to retain a decent batting average (.283) while hitting near the top of Robin Ventura's lineup.

"It is always the case with your players that things are going on outside that people don't necessarily know about," Ventura said. "You have to deal with it the best you can. Sometimes I don't know if it changes things, but it definitely becomes the focus."

Ramirez has also had to deal with trade rumors for the first time in his career. Multiple clubs, including the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates had discussions with the White Sox about acquiring the 31-year-old infielder.

"I don't control any of that," Ramirez said. "Yes, I heard the rumors, but as far as I look at it, I am in Chicago for the rest of my career. This is the team that gave me my first opportunity, so I hope I can stay here until I am done playing."

Ramirez has a contract that runs through 2015 with a club option for 2016.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.17 208 174
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .317
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208