PHOENIX -- In his morning meeting with reporters on Tuesday, Indians manager Terry Francona raved about how Jose Ramirez has been swinging the bat lately. A few hours later, reaching for one of his bats nearly jeopardized the All-Star's availability for Opening Day.Ramirez sustained a laceration on his left middle
PHOENIX -- In his morning meeting with reporters on Tuesday, Indians manager Terry Francona raved about how Jose Ramirez has been swinging the bat lately. A few hours later, reaching for one of his bats nearly jeopardized the All-Star's availability for Opening Day.
Ramirez sustained a laceration on his left middle finger in the first inning of Tuesday's 3-3 tie with the D-backs at Chase Field, forcing the third baseman to exit the game early. Francona indicated that the injury was not serious and Ramirez is expected to be in the lineup on Opening Day on Thursday in Seattle.
"He was reaching for the bat rack," Francona explained. "And he caught his fingernail on a piece of metal and it just cut him. He's OK. We just couldn't stop the bleeding by the time [he needed to go back to the field], because he was leading off the inning."
Ramirez, replaced by pinch-hitter Erik Gonzalez in the top of the second inning, could have played through the minor injury, per Francona.
"He didn't want to come out," Francona said. "He's fine."
This spring, Ramirez hit .273 with five extra-base hits, seven RBIs, eight runs and nine walks in 22 Cactus League games. The third baseman had a standout showing last season, hitting .318 with 29 homers, 56 doubles and 107 runs in 152 games, earning a third-place finish in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Refsnyder traded, three added
Outfielder Rob Refsnyder fell just short of making the Indians' Opening Day roster this spring, but will now get a chance to start the season with the Rays.
On Tuesday, Cleveland traded Refsnyder (out of options) to Tampa Bay in exchange for cash considerations -- one in a handful of moves made by the Tribe. The Indians also received right-hander Jordan Milbrath (a Rule 5 Draft pick) back from the Pirates, claimed lefty Jack Leathersich off waivers from Pittsburgh and signed infielder Adam Rosales to a Minor League contract.
Leathersich (2.70 ERA in 24 career Major League games) was added to the 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Milbrath and Rosales were assigned to Columbus' roster as well.
• Left fielder Michael Brantley, who will begin the season on the disabled list due to a right ankle issue, will continue to play in Minor League games through the end of this week in Arizona. Francona said the team will discuss the next step for Brantley this weekend.
• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (general soreness) was out of the lineup for the Indians Tuesday for the second game in a row. Francona said Encarnacion was doing fine, took regular batting practice on Tuesday and would be ready for Opening Day on Thursday.
• Infielder Giovanny Urshela, who is expected to open the year on the DL with a right hamstring injury, should be ready to resume game activity before the end of this week, per Francona.
"We played the Dodgers. We played a great game. [Curt] Schilling threw eight. [Ricky] Bottalico got the save. [Scott] Rolen made a nice play down the third-base line. It seemed easy. Then, I don't know if we won another game on the road trip. We won, [3-0], and it was just kind of how you drew it up. It went downhill from there." --Francona, on his first career Opening Day as a manager with the Phillies in 1997
• Francona he still is not quite sure how the playing time will be distributed between catchers Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez to start the season. The manager noted that Gomes will likely be behind the plate on Opening Day, marking the catcher's fifth consecutive Opening Day start.
"[Francona] made it clear in the beginning that it's like a dual-running back thing," Gomes said. "We both, when our names get called, just have to be ready. That's as far as it goes. ... I don't think we can both sit back when [the other] is playing. I don't just relax or sit back, because at any moment one of us can come in and impact the game."
• Outfielder Brandon Guyer is expected to resume his role as a complementary right-handed bat for Cleveland's lefty-heavy lineup, offering an option against tough lefties. The Indians will see Mariners lefty James Paxton in the second game of the season on Saturday and Francona said there is a chance Guyer (coming back from a left wrist issue) will be in the lineup.
Following an off-day on Wednesday, the Indians will open the 2018 season with ace Corey Kluber on the mound for a 10:10 p.m. ET clash with the Mariners on Thursday at Safeco Field. It will mark Kluber's fourth consecutive Opening Day assignment. Kluber, who is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, will be opposed by Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
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.