CLEVELAND -- José Ramírez was seen out on the field early before the Indians' 7:15 p.m. ET matchup against the Astros on Saturday, but he’s not ready to be inserted back into Cleveland’s lineup just yet.
After playing in each of Cleveland's first 75 games of the season, Ramírez has now been sidelined in three of the club’s last four contests. He was forced to miss the second game of the doubleheader on Wednesday against the Tigers after he fouled a ball off his face in the matinee. He came back on Thursday and ended up injuring his elbow while diving for a ball at third base.
“José is minimally better,” Indians manager Terry Francona said on Saturday. “Not good enough to play.”
Although he was running the bases and fielding a few ground balls on Saturday, the indication was that Ramírez will steer clear of hitting for a little longer. On Friday night, Francona explained that Ramírez’s pain sets in when he’s in full extension while swinging. Until that discomfort goes away, it’s safe to expect Ernie Clement to continue to fill in at third.
But the one step forward the team did make from Friday night was penciling left fielder Eddie Rosario, who was dealing with abdominal tightness, back into the lineup at designated hitter.
“Eddie is doing really well,” Francona said. “He wanted to play left field. … Well, there’s a possibility with the weather in Florida [on Monday], we may have a doubleheader [during that series], and we’re just trying to take it where we can get it.”
The Indians couldn’t be more excited to have Roberto Pérez back on the active roster after being out for two months with a fractured finger, especially when an inexperienced pitching staff has been scuffling over the last few weeks. In order to activate him off the injured list, the Indians had to designate backup catcher René Rivera for assignment. And in his short time with the team, he left quite the impression on Francona.
"It’s never fun to have those conversations, but golly man, the guy was such a pro,” Francona said. “And I just don’t mean last night but while he was here. What is he, 37 years old? He didn’t go to Spring Training. He didn’t have a team, and he did everything. I mean everything. Like he’s kind of a pro’s pro.”
While Rivera handled a solid portion of the games in Pérez’s absence, Austin Hedges was thrown into the primary catching role and impressed his manager just as much with his positivity and enthusiasm even after all the hits he’s taken behind the plate.
“I told him, ‘I don’t know if you noticed, but there are some days where I sit up straighter because of that. I said we [absolutely] appreciate it, man,’” Francona said. “And I wanted to make sure, I said, ‘I think you know that, but I want to make sure you do.’ They’ve been outstanding.”
Tropical Storm Elsa
With the storm heading toward the Tampa Fla., area early next week, the Indians are waiting to hear if there will be any schedule changes, as their three-game series against the Rays is set for Monday through Wednesday. “I think they kind of alerted us, and I haven’t gotten anything more,” Francona said, “but I believe they want to try and make a decision by tonight because it’s difficult."