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Speedy Ramirez becomes fourth youngest big leaguer

DETROIT -- Jose Ramirez has impressed people at every level he's played at, whether it was in the Minor Leagues, winter ball or Spring Training. He will finally get a chance to showcase his talent with the Indians after being called up Sunday.

Ramirez hit .272 with 25 extra-base hits and 38 RBIs in 113 games at Double-A Akron this season. He led the Eastern League with 38 stolen bases in 54 attempts and was fourth in the league with 78 runs scored. He also drew 39 walks compared to just 41 strikeouts.

Although he is the fourth youngest player in the Major Leagues at 20 years old, the Indians plan to use him in a variety of roles throughout September.

"That's why he's here," manager Terry Francona said. "We wouldn't call a guy up to not play him. That's the reason we called him up. We think he probably has exceeded his age. Are you going to have to teach on the job? Of course, but he has kind of impressed everybody along the way."

Ramirez had a .312 batting average for Toros del Este this offseason, which ranked third in the Dominican Winter League. The only two players ahead of him were Brewers All-Star Jean Segura, and's second-ranked prospect, Oscar Taveras. Ramirez also played two games with the Indians in Spring Training, going 4-for-9 with a double and three RBIs.

"The way he handled himself [in Spring Training], his at-bats were always quality," Francona said. "Just the way he carried himself on the field, the game didn't look like it was going too fast. There are a lot of things to admire about a young kid like that."

Ramirez stole home on Aug. 18 against the Phillies' Double-A affiliate when he noticed their pitcher looked down as he got set in the stretch. Ramirez said he likes to play fast with a lot of energy, trying to emulate his favorite player, Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes.

For a player that was able to skip Class A Advanced Carolina at the beginning of the year, Ramirez has made quite the jump, though he already had a hiccup.

Ramirez forgot to bring his bag after being promoted, and the clubhouse managers had to find cleats for him to use Sunday. He will be wearing a pair of size 10 New Balance cleats, which is one size too big.

"I felt like this season went well, because I played hard and never quit," Ramirez said through translator Luis Ortiz, the Indians lower-level hitting coordinator. "Especially since I didn't start this season very well, I got better and I'm very surprised."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for
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