GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The injury bug will not leave the Indians alone, but this time the team may have dodged a bullet.
The Indians breathed a sign of relief on Sunday when X-rays came back negative, revealing no broken bone, after All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez was carted off the field after fouling a pitch off the inside of his left knee in the third inning of the Tribe’s 7-3 loss to the White Sox. He was diagnosed with a left knee contusion.
Ramirez will stay in Goodyear to receive treatment, rather than flying to Texas with his team for two exhibition games against the Rangers on Monday and Tuesday. He will meet up with the Indians in Minnesota, but his status for Opening Day was undetermined.
“I mean, he’s day-to-day,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He has a bruise. Obviously, he had a pretty good bruise. You could tell by the way he reacted. So, I think the trainers feel like if we can get ahead of this thing the first 24 hours, rather than having him jump on a flight, we can maybe, like I said, get ahead of it a little bit.”
After fouling the pitch off his leg, Ramirez immediately dropped to the ground and stayed down for a few minutes. Joined by the team’s training staff, Francona hustled to the batter’s box to check on Ramirez. After a few moments, they were able to assist him off the ground before helping him over to a medical cart that took him off the field. Max Moroff came in to finish the at-bat.
“When he couldn’t get up, your heart kind of goes to your throat,” Francona said. “But [Carlos] Santana told me he was OK, Dr. Santana. So, it gave me a little hope.”
Ramirez’s scare came after the Indians had already announced that second baseman Jason Kipnis (calf strain) and shortstop Francisco Lindor (calf strain) will both open the 2019 season on the injured list. If Ramirez is not able to play in Minnesota on Thursday, it would be the first time since '14 that both he and Lindor are not in the Opening Day lineup.
Between the amount of turnover the Indians had this offseason and this season’s injuries, there’s a chance that none of the players who started in over 100 games for Cleveland in 2018 will play on Opening Day (Lindor, 158 games; Ramirez, 157; Kipnis, 147; Yonder Alonso, 145; Michael Brantley, 143; Edwin Encarnacion, 137; Yan Gomes, 112; Brandon Guyer, 103; Rajai Davis, 101).