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Hanley a disciple of -- who else? -- Tom Brady

Slugger focused on slimming down and flexibility, credits TB12 with assist
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez no longer does any heavy lifting. Instead, he has put all his focus into strengthening his smaller muscles.

In his equipment bag, you will find a sizable collection of resistance bands.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez no longer does any heavy lifting. Instead, he has put all his focus into strengthening his smaller muscles.

In his equipment bag, you will find a sizable collection of resistance bands.

It turns out that Ramirez has become inspired by the training methods of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who just won the third MVP Award of his storied NFL career at the age of 40.

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"More [resistance] bands. I went on Tom Brady's diet. I think it's 100 percent [right]," Ramirez said. "Everything he says in the book, and the work he does, it makes a lot of sense."

How does he feel after putting Brady's TB12 methods to work?

"Fantastic," said Ramirez, who arrived at Spring Training on Friday. "I'm ready to go, 100 percent."

By lifting less -- and on the strength of a surgically repaired left shoulder -- Ramirez plans on getting back to 30 homers and 100 RBIs after his disappointing season (.242 average, 23 homers, 62 RBIs) of a year ago.

"That was terrible," Ramirez said. "I need RBIs. That's how you win games. RBIs."

Ramirez says the Red Sox can count on him again, much like they did in 2016, when he belted 30 homers and had 111 RBIs.

"Oh, yeah. No doubt," Ramirez said. "You're gonna see it, for sure. Literally, I was hitting with one arm last year, and I hit 23. Now that I feel good, there are not going to be excuses. Better go out there and hit 30."

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And if Ramirez does do what he thinks he's capable of? He will give Brady some of the credit.

Ramirez said he hasn't talked to Brady or his trainer Alex Guerrero, but he has been following the words of training and dietary wisdom in the "TB12 Method" book.

It's not as if Ramirez is eating avocado ice cream like Brady. But he said he lost 15 pounds, and it shows.

"I can feel it with my hips and swinging, the hands are faster," Ramirez said. "It's effortless. I feel good things. At the end of the day, you just sit down and think about changes you've got to make for next year and when you start doing that, you see the difference. The mind is telling you that it needs it."

The 34-year-old Ramirez knows that hitters can't stay at their best simply by maintaining at this age.

Brady's book -- released on Sept. 19, 2017 -- came along at the perfect time for Ramirez.

"When you're young, you need the big muscles to get stronger. When you get in that age, past 30, you've got to concentrate on the little muscles," Ramirez said. "You get that power from the big muscles. When you get hurt, most of the time those little muscles stop working. So you've got to keep working on those little muscles, which is what those bands do. They give you resistance and keep the little muscles working."

New Red Sox manager Alex Cora looks forward to seeing how Ramirez's improved fitness translates on the field.

"I visited with him in December, and he talked to me about his workout program, his offseason program, his new one," Cora said. "I saw him today, and he looks a lot different than what I saw the last two years. The last two years he reminded me a lot of Ray Lewis, as far as how big he was. Now he's going to be more mobile, flexible and he's upbeat. So that's always good."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez