CLEVELAND -- Bradley Zimmer took the Indians’ Summer Camp by storm in July, providing an offensive spark that the team just couldn’t ignore. But with so many outfielders on Cleveland’s roster, consistent at-bats have been hard to come by and the team decided it was best for him to get more repetitions elsewhere.
The Indians announced on Saturday afternoon that Zimmer had been optioned to the team’s alternate training site in Lake County, Ohio, to make room for starter Triston McKenzie on the 28-man roster.
Zimmer, 27, missed half of the 2018 season and nearly all of ’19 recovering from right shoulder surgery and rehabbing oblique strains. The Tribe had encouraged him to play over the winter since he had missed so much time, but he insisted it’d be best to experience a normal offseason. When he returned to Summer Camp, his bat was red-hot in intrasquad scrimmages, and he went a combined 2-for-4 in two exhibition games against the Pirates.
When Zimmer was called upon amid an eight-man outfield, he went 6-for-37 (.162) with a .603 OPS in 20 games.
“Yeah, it was a hard move because he had a great camp,” Indians temporary manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “But he hasn't played. … Domingo Santana started swinging the bat better, [Tyler] Naquin came in, so the at-bats for him were going to be limited. We're giving him the opportunity to go over there and continue working, and in case we need him here, he's ready to go.”
Ramírez battling thumb injury
It’s minor enough that the Indians’ third baseman is still being penciled into the everyday lineup, but José Ramírez has been experiencing some discomfort in his left thumb, according to Alomar. Through Aug. 6, Ramírez hit .308 with a 1.015 OPS, but in the next 12 games, he hit .146 with a .534 OPS.
“He pushes himself,” Alomar said. “We just don't want him to start messing up his hitting mechanics when he's nursing something. But at the end of the day, he goes up there and competes. I'll take a José Ramírez even if he's 50 percent. I'm sure he'll figure it out and he'll bust out of it. But he's OK, he just needs to get a couple of hits and he'll be fine.”
Tito out for Tigers series
Though it was expected, the Indians confirmed on Saturday that manager Terry Francona will miss the entire series against Detroit. The team expects to have another update on the skipper’s condition on Monday.