Gonzalez sees “a different Hanley”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been nothing but complimentary of Hanley Ramirez this division series, the former Marlins shortstop who had a well-publicized run-in with Gonzalez in 2010 when he was managing Ramirez in Florida.

Ramirez has been a thorn in Gonzalez’s side for his work with the bat, not his petulance. Ramirez tied a Dodgers franchise postseason record with six extra-base hits in the first three games of the division series, while batting .538 (7-for-13). He had four doubles, a triple, and a home run and six RBIs.

“I’ve never had any friction with Hanley personally,” Gonzalez said before Monday’s Game 4. “And I see a different Hanley. I see a more mature guy, but I’ve always seen a real, real good baseball player. He’s a guy that’s got a bright future in this game. At any given time, he tilts the field - defensively, running bases, offensively, hitting. He’s a special guy.”

In May of 2010, Gonzalez benched Ramirez for not hustling after a fly ball he accidentally kicked into the left field corner. Gonzalez then kept his young star player on the bench until he apologized to his teammates. Ramirez responded by taking shots at Gonzalez because “he never played in the big leagues.”

Gonzalez said there’s no friction between Ramirez and him now and the two have spoken many times since that incident.

“What happened was nothing personal at all,” Gonzalez said. “It was something that as a head coach or a manager in any sport, sometimes you’ve got to worry about 24 other guys, and you’ve got to make decisions. When you feel you did the right thing at the right time, maybe that helped them grow up a little bit.”