The Indians' plan for Lindor and why they DFA'd Hanley Ramirez

Lindor will make his 2019 debut on Saturday night

James Rapien
April 20, 2019 - 2:34 pm

Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians have been planning for Francisco Lindor’s return for quite some time.

The three-time All-Star missed all of spring training with a calf strain, only to suffer a sprained ankle right before the start of the regular season. He missed 18 games in total, but he’s back and ready to make an impact.

“It’s an honor and it’s a privilege to be healthy and I’m not taking it for granted,” Lindor said. “I feel like I’m in a good spot. I feel like I’m ready to play a big league game and not take any outs off.”

Lindor, 25, never said he was fully healthy. He’s going to make his 2019 debut on Saturday night against the Atlanta Braves in the second game of a doubleheader at Progressive Field.

“I’m going to have a brace,” Lindor said. “I’m going to have a tape job. I’m going to have every type of stuff that they got to be able to play the game. I’m happy I’m back and I’m going to give it 100 percent.”

Lindor will play shortstop on Saturday, but that won’t always be the case. He will also be the Indians’ designated hitter at times, which explains why the team designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

“When we activated Frankie, it was with the idea that we would DH him sometimes,” manager Terry Francona said. “It just kind of put us in a little bit of a hole where if we didn’t have another infielder and if Frankie’s going to do some DHing – so we talked to Hanley yesterday and he was about as professional as he can be.”

Ramirez posted a .184 batting average (9-for-49) with two home runs and eight RBI this season. The 35-year-old wants to continue his career.

“This was a baseball decision,” Francona said. “Hanley was a model citizen for us. I know he wants to keep playing and I hope he does because he handled himself so well.”

The Indians feel comfortable putting Lindor at DH and it played a role in activating him as soon as they did. He hasn’t faced Major League pitching since last October. He was rehabbing during spring training and hasn’t had the time to get his body ready for the regular season. Putting him at DH will help the Indians’ lineup and allow him to work his way back.

“I think the biggest thing is common sense,” Francona said. “It’s not like he can’t play three out of four or four out of five. Like I said, we’ll DH him at times, not just for his ankle, but his whole body. We want him to be able to help us and we don’t want to run him into the ground, so we’ll try to use common sense.”

Lindor will play shortstop in Saturday's debut. The Indians feel he’s healthy enough to play, but also acknowledge that he hasn’t been able to prepare for this season like everyone else has. Frankie isn’t using that as an excuse.

“If I make any errors it’s not because of my ankle,” Lindor said. “It’ll never be because of my ankle. It’ll be because of me. I’m going to go out there as hard as I can. If I don’t get to certain balls that you guys seen me get to, it’s not because of my ankle.”

It may take Lindor a few weeks to look like his normal self, but it'll be good to see Frankie back on the dirt at Progressive Field.