Shortstop thrown behind, benches empty, then singles before exiting
DETROIT -- It was an eventful Thursday afternoon for White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez in a 6-3 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park, and he didn't even make it through six innings.
Ramirez left in the sixth with what was announced as cramping in his right leg after dropping a two-out single to right over the head of Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder. Ramirez reached first and then bent over in pain, helped off the field by White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and manager Robin Ventura while favoring his right leg.
The cramping started as he ran out a fifth-inning groundout, Ramirez said after the game, and he had the leg stretched out in the dugout after the at-bat.
"I felt that in the fifth inning when I was running to the base," said Ramirez, who doubled home a run in the first, through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "I stepped on it and it felt like something sharp was coming out but it was more so like a cramp.
"When I went to hit again in the sixth, it really intensified. It really cramped up on me."
This injury was only part of Ramirez's dramatics.
Two batters after Josh Phegley gave the White Sox a 5-3 lead with his first career grand slam, Detroit reliever Luke Putkonen threw behind Ramirez's back side on the first pitch of his at-bat. Ramirez walked toward the mound pointing at Putkonen, and both benches and bullpens emptied. Words were exchanged but no punches were thrown.
Putkonen's pitch came one inning after Chris Sale threw up-and-in to Fielder in the at-bat following Miguel Cabrera's opposite-field homer on a 3-2 pitch with the bases empty and two outs. Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who engaged in a spirited and extended argument with home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild, was ejected along with Putkonen.
Ramirez's perceived intent of Putkonen's pitch caused him to react as he did. After the game, Ramirez said he intended to play in Friday's series opener in Philadelphia, the White Sox final first-half series.
"I'm going to wait until tomorrow, but I always come to the park to play," said Ramirez, who would be replaced by Gordon Beckham at shortstop if he was to miss his first game of the season. "I feel good after I got treatment and stuff like that."