The Cleveland Indians are jockeying for playoff position, but they may have to do it without José Ramírez going forward.
The star third baseman exited Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals in the middle of an at-bat because of a broken right hand, which will cost him a trip to the 10-day injured list.
Facing Kansas City Royals starter Glenn Sparkman in the first inning, Ramírez fouled off a 2-0 pitch and immediately bent over in pain. Manager Terry Franconca and athletic trainer James Quinlan came to evaluate him at home plate before lifting him from the game.
Ramírez’s injury was initially called right wrist soreness, but the club upgraded the malady after he underwent an MRI. Ramírez had been dealing with soreness before, but this was more than an aggravation.
“I’m not sure this was in the same place [as the prior soreness],” Francona said, via MLB.com. “That’s what kind of worried us.”
The Athletic’s Zack Meisel reported that Ramírez will undergo surgery in New York on Monday, and the team will offer a timetable for his return after that point.
As a precautionary measure, the Indians pulled a top infield prospect from his game with Triple-A Columbus on Saturday night. Yu Chang, who ranks as their No. 11 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is a natural replacement if Ramírez has to miss significant time and has already had a cup of coffee with the major league team in late June when Ramírez was on the paternity list. He was officially recalled on Sunday.
This injury comes at a bad time for Ramírez, who had finally turned around his dismal season. Perhaps because he was trying to go opposite field and elevate too much, the two-time All-Star only hit .218/.308/.344 in the first half. Now that he’s using his natural pull-side power more, he has hit .327/.363/.705 in the second half.
The Indians carry a 76-54 record into Sunday and are currently leading the first wild card spot by a half game over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Oakland Athletics aren't far behind at 74-54, and the Boston Red Sox remain a dark horse at 70-61.
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