It was in the first inning of tonight’s game with the Royals that Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez swung and missed on a high fastball from pitcher Glenn Sparkman. That, in and of itself, wouldn’t be news–except for the fact that Ramirez signaled for trainers following his swing and was promptly removed from the contest.
Shortly thereafter, the Columbus Clippers–the Indians Triple-A affiliate– removed infielder Yu Chang from their lineup in a game against the Toledo Mud Hens. If you’re reading tea leaves, the conjunction of these two events would seem to be related, and a tweet from MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince confirms that Chang will be called up in the event of an IL placement for Ramirez (link). Castrovince goes on to reveal that Ramirez underwent an MRI on his right wrist tonight, but that it doesn’t appear as if the team will issue a “substantial” update this evening. Meanwhile, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal heard from manager Terry Francona tonight that Ramirez has been dealing with wrist discomfort for “a while” (link).
A sustained absence for Ramirez would seem to spell some level of doom for the Tribe. After back-to-back poor halves to close last season and open this one, Ramirez has reemerged this summer as an offensive beast. His .327 batting average, 13 home runs, and 6 steals through 40 second-half games have gone a long way toward maintaining the team’s position atop the AL Wild Card race–despite a 3-7 record in their last 10 games entering play Saturday. At time of posting, the Indians sit in a three-way tie with the Tampa Bay Rays and the surging Oakland Athletics in a battle for the postseason’s two final play-in spots.