Indians lose third baseman Jose Ramirez to fractured hamate bone in right hand

Ramirez to have surgery on Monday afternoon

T.J. Zuppe
August 25, 2019 - 10:10 am
Jose Ramirez

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) — Jose Ramirez suffered a fractured hamate bone in his right hand on Saturday, additional tests revealed.

As a result of the injury, Ramirez was placed on the 10-day injured list. In his place, infielder Yu Chang was recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game on Sunday.

The diagnosis served as a devastating blow to a club fighting for a playoff spot. The Indians began the day trailing the Twins by 2.5 games in the AL Central.

"I felt bad, especially in that situation, where the team is fighting," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "Most importantly, we need all of us to contribute, so I felt really bad when that happened."

The 26-year-old Ramirez suffered the injury in the first inning of Saturday’s affair against Kansas City. He was forced to exit the game after swinging at a 2-0 pitch from Royals starter Glenn Sparkman. Ramirez underwent an MRI later that night, which revealed the extent of the ailment. 

The two-time All-Star will fly to New York on Sunday and will undergo surgery on Monday afternoon. A more clear timetable for return will be established following surgery -- any guess prior to that revelation is just speculation -- but Sunday's unfortunate news certainly casts doubt on the rest Ramirez's season.

"I'm not sure anybody’s ever going to be able to nail it exactly," manager Terry Francona said of the timetable. "But we will have a much better idea after [Dr. Thomas Graham] does the procedure."

Ramirez overcame a brutal start to his season by slashing .313/.360/.643 with 16 homers over his past 60 games. Overall, he owns a .788 OPS with 20 homers in 2019.

The switch-hitter had been dealing with a bothersome right wrist prior to suffering the injury in the victory on Saturday. One of Francona's first questions to the medical staff was inquiring if the two were linked.

"They don’t think so," Francona said. "I was wondering the same thing. Was he weak? This was a hamate. Baseball players do this. The trainers and the doctor, nobody thought it was related."

Chang, meanwhile, made his Major League debut earlier this season for Cleveland, going 0-for-4 over two games played. The 24-year-old prospect was slashing .253/.322/.427 this season at Triple-A Columbus with nine homers in 68 games.

As for how the team will handle third base in Ramirez's absence, some combination of the right-handed hitting Chang and left-handed hitting infielder Mike Freeman will be forced into action. The playing time will likely be determined by their production moving forward.

"There’s two ways to look at it," Francona said. "You can feel sorry for yourself, which probably doesn’t end well. Or you can choose to fight back and feel like this is our time to shine. And I would choose No. 2. I’m aware that it got more difficult. We lost a great player. That doesn’t mean you can’t win. Just makes it a little harder."