Ramirez debuts, looks to get timing down

Veteran goes 0-for-3 in his first Cactus League action

March 5th, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The time is right for a comeback story. His timing at the plate is, understandably, not ready for the spotlight.

The veteran saw a total of seven pitches Monday during his three at-bats and swung at five of them. He finished 0-for-3 with a pair of fly balls to right field and a groundout in the Indians’ 8-0 loss to San Diego.

“We are just trying to let him get his legs under him,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “If you start to make judgments today, you can really set yourself up for a mistake.”

Ramirez’s highly anticipated first at-bat of Cactus League play ended seconds after his name was announced by the public address announcer at the Peoria Sports Complex in the second inning. He swung at the first pitch and flied out to right field.

In the fourth, he swung at the first pitch again, this time from San Diego pitcher Matt Strahm, and fouled it back behind home plate. He swung and missed on second pitch, took a pitch for a ball, and flied out to shallow right field on the fourth pitch of the at-bat.

In the sixth, he took the first pitch he saw in his third at-bat for a ball and hit the next one into an inning-ending double play.

“It was exciting to get back on the field, take a couple of at-bats and get ready for the season,” Ramirez said. “It’s all about the timing. It’s not the same in a game as in a cage. Slowly, you are just trying to get your timing back and make good contact.”

It was an uneventful start, but it was Ramirez’s appearance in the game, not the results, that mattered the most Monday. There will eventually come a day this month when the veteran will have to prove he is a viable option at designated hitter, but that day was not Monday.

It likely won’t be Wednesday, either. Ramirez is penciled in as the team’s designated hitter that night against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.

“It feels good,” Ramirez said. “I’ll keep working and get that feeling back.”

Bieber goes three

Shane Bieber took another step toward securing the fifth spot in the rotation Monday against the Padres.

The 23-year-old allowed one run on two hits in three innings against the Padres. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

“Obviously, you don’t want to let yourself get too comfortable because this is a business and we have so many great arms in the organization,” Bieber said. “I’m going out there and competing and trying to win a spot, but at the same time, there’s a lot of things that I need to work on that will help me in the long run and continue to develop.”

In his previous outing, Bieber threw two perfect innings with a strikeout in his Cactus League debut against the Brewers on Feb. 27. He recorded a 4.55 ERA in 114 2/3 innings with the Indians last season after making the climb from Double-A to Triple-A to the big leagues in a short span.

Injury updates

• Right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar (right shoulder) is throwing at 120 feet without issues.

• Outfielder Bradley Zimmer (right shoulder surgery) is throwing at 150 feet and is scheduled to begin live batting practice against right-handed pitcher James Hoyt (right knee and right elbow surgeries).

• Infielder Mike Freeman is day to day with right knee soreness.

Up next

The Indians will send Adam Plutko to the mound at 3:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday against Dylan Cease and the White Sox at Goodyear Ballpark. Mike Clevinger is scheduled to start at 9:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday against Rich Hill and the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.