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J-Ram has surgery, could return for postseason

Zimmer, Otero, Carrasco, Salazar, Rodriguez, Luplow in Minors for rehab
@MandyBell02
August 27, 2019

DETROIT -- If the Major League standings held true from now until the end of the regular season, the Indians would be hosting the American League Wild Card Game at Progressive Field on Oct. 2. After the news the team received Tuesday morning, there would also be a slight chance

DETROIT -- If the Major League standings held true from now until the end of the regular season, the Indians would be hosting the American League Wild Card Game at Progressive Field on Oct. 2. After the news the team received Tuesday morning, there would also be a slight chance Jose Ramirez would be in that lineup.

The Tribe’s third baseman was evaluated in New York on Monday by Dr. Thomas Graham, who confirmed the diagnosis of a hook of the hamate fracture. After Ramirez underwent surgery at NYU Langone Hospital later in the afternoon, he was given the timeframe of five to seven weeks to return to Major League game activity.

“I know that’s pretty general, but that’s really all that they can [say],” Indians manager Terry Francona said before the Indians’ 10-1 win over the Tigers on Tuesday night at Comerica Park. “The doctor was real pleased with how the surgery went, so that’s good to hear. [The team interpreter Agustin Rivero] went up with him and sent me a note afterwards, saying that Josey was doing good. So, we’ll get him back to Cleveland, let him start doing stuff whenever they allow him and see where that takes him.”

Ramirez grabbed his arm in pain after foul-tipping a 2-0 fastball from Royals starter Glenn Sparkman on Saturday and was pulled from the game in the middle of his at-bat. The Indians slugger had been battling pain in his wrist over the last few weeks, but said he knew instantly that the crack he felt in his hand was completely different.

Losing the third baseman is a tough pill for Cleveland to have to swallow after he had hit .313 with a 1.0003 OPS in his last 59 games. Although Yu Chang, who will share time with Mike Freeman at the hot corner, had an impressive first game filling in for Ramirez on Sunday, going 2-for-3 with a triple, it was clear the club has no easy road to the postseason without one of its hottest hitters.

“Well, the best way to go about it is like we always do, which is to try to win tonight,” Francona said. “He is a hell of a player. So when you lose guys that good, it doesn't help you. … But the best thing to do is to just play the game. If you try to do more, that's when you end up getting in trouble. You start trying to go 3-for-2 or hitting a 5-run homer and that doesn't work very well.”

However, the Indians may now have a little sense of hope.

Based on his timetable, the earliest Ramirez could be slotted back into the lineup would be Oct. 1, which is a day prior to the AL Wild Card matchup. The worst-case scenario would be a return on Oct. 15. So the club will finish out the final month of the regular season, including six games against the first-place Twins, without its former AL Most Valuable Player Award candidate, but if it's able to secure a spot in the playoffs, Ramirez may be back just in time to help his team make a postseason run.

“Well, he's one of the better baserunners in the game,” Francona said. “He's actually been a very good defender. He's an all-around great player and he plays every day. So you miss that. It's nice when you have guys where you just put their name in the lineup and let them go play and stay out of the way.”

Rehab appearances

Bradley Zimmer (right shoulder, oblique) will play seven-to-nine innings with Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday.

Dan Otero (right shoulder inflammation) will make an appearance at Columbus on Wednesday. He’s expected to re-join the Tribe on Sunday.

Carlos Carrasco (leukemia) will either pitch on Wednesday and Friday or just on Thursday for Columbus. The Indians are still hoping to activate him from the injured list on Sept. 1.

Danny Salazar threw one scoreless inning (eight pitches) for Double-A Akron on Monday and will pitch again on Wednesday.

Jefry Rodriguez will pitch for Columbus on Tuesday.

Jordan Luplow will play four-to-five innings for Columbus on Tuesday.

This date in Indians history

2011: In his second game back with Cleveland, Jim Thome celebrated his 41st birthday by hitting his club-record 335th career home run with the Tribe.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.