Ramirez out of lineup; Plesac to debut

May 27th, 2019

BOSTON -- was out of the lineup for Monday's 12-5 loss to the Red Sox as manager Terry Francona looks to give the third baseman an opportunity to get back on track.

“I’ve put it off because I guess my thoughts were, you’re putting off a day where he could get hot,” Francona said. “So I just thought with the amount of games we’ve played in a row [11 entering Monday], guys he’s struggled with in the past, maybe it’s a good time to let him wake up in the morning knowing he can go to the cage, he can take a deep breath, because I think he’s been grinding. We’ve all seen it.

“Maybe it’ll help. I hope it does.”

Ramirez is batting .170 with nine hits, one home run and nine strikeouts over his last 15 games. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in Sunday’s loss to the Rays. Ramirez has a .091 career batting average in 11 at-bats against Monday’s opposing starting pitcher, right-hander Rick Porcello.

“You can tell it’s bothering him,” Francona said. “He’s human. He’s been one of the best hitters in baseball, and he’s been scuffling for a while now.”

Ramirez’s resume includes two Silver Slugger Awards, a pair of All-Star selections and a .278 career batting average. Mike Freeman started in his place on Monday, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double.

“For what he’s gone through, I think he’s been amazingly consistent in his way he handles himself,” Francona said.

Plesac poised for debut

Zach Plesac will have plenty of support on hand when he makes his Major League debut Tuesday. The right-hander expects around 20 friends and family members will be at Fenway Park, including his twin brother, Ronnie, who is traveling from Alaska to be at the game.

The stage may be bigger, but Plesac’s mindset will remain the same.

“Be consistent with what I do, stick to my strengths, be aggressive, pitch and don’t try to change anything of what got me here,” he said.

Plesac made nine Minor League starts this season, going 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. He will be the seventh Indians pitcher to make his big league debut at Fenway.

“Part of the reason we’re calling these guys up like we’ve been is to let them get some of the firsts out of the way,” Francona said. “Sure, we want to win the games that we play, but we also are trying to develop some younger guys and give them a taste of the Major Leagues.”

Francona honors soldier

As the Indians played on Memorial Day afternoon, Francona wore a patch to honor fallen soldier Michael Medders Jr. from Avon Lake, Ohio.

“He was in the Army and he was killed by a suicide bomber,” Francona said. “He was a football player and he sang in the choir. He was kind of that all-around kid.”

Francona reached out to Medders’ father to ask for permission to recognize his son. The conversation impacted Francona, whose son served.

“He happened to say, ‘The one thing that my son was worried about was that somebody wouldn’t remember him,’” Francona said. “It’s my way of just trying to remember somebody, but also maybe honoring my son a little bit in the process too.”