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Rib injury sends Zimmer to disabled list

Indians bring up reliever Ramirez from Triple-A
MLB.com @MLBastian

DETROIT -- Wearing a large ice pack across his chest, Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer made his way to manager Terry Francona's office in Comerica Park on Monday night. The time had come to decide whether a trip to the disabled list was in the best interest of Zimmer and the team.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Tigers, Zimmer was placed on the 10-day DL due to a left rib contusion, joining Tyler Naquin (left hamstring) and Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf) on the shelf for Cleveland. Zimmer's injury is the result of lingering effects of a violent crash into the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium on May 5.

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DETROIT -- Wearing a large ice pack across his chest, Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer made his way to manager Terry Francona's office in Comerica Park on Monday night. The time had come to decide whether a trip to the disabled list was in the best interest of Zimmer and the team.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Tigers, Zimmer was placed on the 10-day DL due to a left rib contusion, joining Tyler Naquin (left hamstring) and Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf) on the shelf for Cleveland. Zimmer's injury is the result of lingering effects of a violent crash into the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium on May 5.

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"It's something I was obviously trying to avoid," Zimmer said. "Every day, I was doing what I can, doing what I can. It just got to a point where it's tough for me to go out there and be myself. So, I talked to [Francona and Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations], our medical staff, everyone, and we feel like the best decision was to get healthy just so I can be back shortly and be at 100 percent."

The Indians selected the contract of reliever Neil Ramirez from Triple-A Columbus to take Zimmer's spot on the active roster. In order to vacate a spot on the 40-man roster for Ramirez, Cleveland transferred lefty Ryan Merritt (left knee and left shoulder) to the 60-day DL.

Zimmer dealt with a sore left shoulder in the immediate wake of his hard meeting with the wall in the Bronx, but it has been the bruised ribs creating the most persistent problem in recent days. Francona has noted that Zimmer mostly has experienced discomfort while swinging a bat, and the outfielder's trip to the DL indicates that was still an issue as he went through a pregame workout on Monday.

The Indians have the ability to make Zimmer's DL stay retroactive by three days, meaning he would be eligible for activation at the earliest next Tuesday, when the Tribe opens a two-game series on the road against the Cubs.

"We felt like the best way to go about it was to kind of give him some time," Francona said of delaying Zimmer's trip to the DL, "because there was a decent chance he was going to turn a corner and actually play. Well, that didn't happen. We kind of said [Monday] would kind of be like the cutoff day."

Zimmer has hit .224 with two home runs, nine RBIs, 14 runs scored, four steals and a 36.8-percent strikeout rate through 32 games. While his offense has lagged, Zimmer has provided value on the bases (1.1 Baserunning, per Fangraphs) and on defense. Among qualified center fielders, Zimmer ranks first with a 26.4 UZR/150 and was tied for the league lead with four assists.

With Zimmer sidelined, the Indians will likely continue to lean on Greg Allen in center field, with veteran Rajai Davis offering an alternative. Michael Brantley has left field locked down, while the slew of injuries have boosted Brandon Guyer's playing time in right field.

Chisenhall is with the team on the current road trip, but it's unclear when he will be ready for a Minor League rehab assignment. He has resumed regular batting practice, but still has several steps left to clear in his running program. Naquin remains in Cleveland and is in the early stages of his rehab.

The Indians have veteran Melky Cabrera, who was signed to a Minor League contract last month, at Columbus, but he had only logged 30 at-bats through seven games as of Monday. In those appearances, the outfielder has hit .233 with three doubles, no walks and a .567 OPS.

Ramirez is the latest reinforcement to join the Indians bullpen, which headed into Tuesday's play ranked 28th in the Majors with a 5.45 ERA as a unit. Through 13 appearances at Triple-A, the right-hander posted a 2.55 ERA with 31 strikeouts against three walks in 17 2/3 innings. Ramirez has a 4.22 ERA with 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 116 career Major League games in stints with five teams.

Worth noting
• The Indians selected the contract of reliever Neil Ramirez from Triple-A Columbus to take Zimmer's spot on the active roster. To vacate a spot on the 40-man roster, Cleveland transferred lefty Ryan Merritt (left knee and left shoulder) to the 60-day DL.

Ramirez posted a 2.55 ERA with 31 strikeouts against three walks in 17 2/3 innings in 13 outings at Triple-A. The righty has a 4.22 ERA with 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 116 Major League games with five teams.

"We'll try to get a feel for where he fits the best we can, and we'll do it quickly," Francona said.

• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was out of the starting lineup Tuesday night against the Tigers due to upper-back and neck stiffness. Francona said the issue is not believed to be serious.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Neil Ramirez, Bradley Zimmer