Perhaps the baseball lore about hamate bone surgery sapping power has been debunked, but the hand procedure is threatening to rob us of something else.
Namely, one of the game's most dynamic offensive players for the rest of the 2019 season.
After exiting Saturday's game against the Royals with what was described at the time as a right wrist injury, Indians star Jose Ramirez was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with a fractured hamate bone in his right hand. The injury will require surgery, set to be performed Monday in New York, and the prospect of Ramirez returning to the Indians before the end of the regular season is bleak.
“Dr. (Thomas) Graham will then lay out what he thinks timetables, potential timetables,” Indians manager Terry Francona said Sunday morning. “I not sure anybody’s ever going to be able to nail it exactly. But we will have a much better idea after he does the procedure. ... I don’t see Dr. Graham sitting in New York telling me who to hit second. I’m gonna let him do his thing, and we should know more.”
The 26-year-old began the year ice cold at the dish but had turned things around since the All-Star break, hitting .327/.363/.705 with 13 homers, 40 RBI, 26 runs scored and six steals in 40 games played. That stretch served as a reminder of just how dynamic Ramirez can be when on the field and producing, one of the game's best dual threats.
In his absence, the Tribe will be forced to turn to Yu Chang and Mike Freeman at the hot corner. Chang was recalled Sunday and went 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk and two runs scored in a loss to the Royals. He was hitting .253/.322/.427 in 68 games at Triple-A prior to the promotion. Freeman is batting .281/.368/.439 in 52 games this year.
Lopez Set To Return To Marlins Rotation
The Marlins are reeling in a big catch Monday.
Out since June 15 with a right shoulder strain, Pablo Lopez will be activated for Monday's game against the Reds, manager Don Mattingly said Sunday. Lopez will make the start, pushing Caleb Smith's turn back to Tuesday.
“It’s been forever since I’ve been on this mound. I’m real excited,” Lopez said. “I’ve been working on some things, so it feels even longer. Every day, day in and day out being in rehab, just working on things while trying to get healthy. It’s a process that felt longer than it actually has been.”
Before the injury, the 23-year-old was 5-5 with a 4.23 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 73/18 K/BB ratio across 76 2/3 innings of work. He'd especially started rounding into form just prior to hitting the shelf, reeling off four straight quality starts, in three of which he allowed zero or one run.
Lopez made five rehab starts ahead of Monday's anticipated activation, scuffling in his first three at Double-A before showing better in his final two outings at Triple-A. In his rehab start Wednesday, Lopez allowed one earned run over six innings, striking out five.
The return of Lopez opens the door for the Marlins to possibly go with a six-man rotation down the stretch as they try to manage the workloads of numerous young pitchers, including Smith and Sandy Alcantara.
“We’ve talked about different ways to keep guys’ innings down,” Mattingly said. “We want guys pitching on maximum rest."
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Diaz Avoids IL After Early Exit
Injury was added to insult Saturday for Edwin Diaz, but it appears as though he's avoided any serious time away.
Diaz left Saturday's appearance against the Braves with trapezius tightness near his neck, but on Sunday it was reported that he will not be placed on the injured list. The exit from Saturday's game after a few batters after Diaz allowed a Freddie Freeman solo homer to push the Braves' lead to three runs.
"He kind of wanted to keep pitching a little bit, but once he said that, it just made no sense (to keep him in) with the game's score and everything," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
"It's nothing serious, just a little tight right now," Diaz said. "I don't think it's anything to serious, we'll take it day-by-day."
What is serious is the closer's struggles, which remain persistent as we near September. With Saturday's outing he's now got an 8.10 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in the month of August, and a 5.55 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 48 2/3 innings overall.
Teammate Seth Lugo has moved past Diaz and into the closer role, although there haven't been many saves to be had in recent days. Especially with Diaz now dealing with a neck issue, however minor, Lugo is the Mets reliever to own, likely until season's end.
National League Quick Hits: Anthony Rizzo (back) was not in the Cubs' lineup Sunday. Rizzo departed Saturday's game with mid-back tightness and will need a little down time. The hope is that he'll be ready to play Tuesday after Monday's off day. Ian Happ started at first base Sunday. ... Diamondbacks activated LHP Robbie Ray from the 10-day injured list. Ray rejoined the rotation on Sunday against the Brewers following a minimum stay on the IL with back spasms, and he showed few signs of rust in blanking the Milwaukee crew over five innings. Ray gave up three hits and walked four while striking out six. ... Josh Donaldson slugged a pair of solo homers in the Braves' defeat of the Mets on Sunday. Donaldson took Steven Matz deep in the top of the second inning and then went yard off reliever Paul Sewald in the top of the seventh. The veteran third baseman has been scorching hot since the middle of June and is now up to 32 home runs on the year to go along with a stellar .918 OPS. ... Matt Carpenter went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and three runs scored as the Cardinals pounded the Rockies 11-4 on Sunday. The Rockies got out to an early two-run lead but the Cards came roaring back with a six-run second inning, kicked off with Carpenter's RBI single. He kept the party going in the third when he ripped a Jesus Tinoco fastball into the Cards' bullpen in right field for his 12th homer of the year. With Kolten Wong possibly out for a few days, maybe longer, after fouling a ball off his toe in Saturday's game, the Cards could sure benefit from Carpenter getting hot. The 33-year-old is hitting just .218/.328/.375 to date, but we saw last season what kind of a tear he can go on when he's locked in. Whether Sunday's game was an indication that he's beginning to round into form or just a mirage remains to be seen. ... Dallas Keuchel tossed seven scoreless innings in the Braves' 2-1 win over the Mets on Sunday. Keuchel scattered four hits and three walks while striking out seven as the red-hot Braves finished off a three-game sweep of the division-rival Mets. They've won eight games in a row, and Keuchel has been on a roll, yielding just one total run across his last three outings. He'll bring a 3.78 ERA into his next start at home against the White Sox. ... Anthony Rendon went 4-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored as the Nationals outlasted the Cubs 7-5 in 11 innings Sunday. Rendon plated the first and last runs of the 11-inning affair, clubbing a Cole Hamels pitch onto Waveland Avenue in the fourth inning for a solo homer before knocking an RBI single to extend the Nats' lead in the top of the 11th. Rendon is in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak during which he's got four homers, 14 RBI and 10 runs scored. The scorching stretch has his season line up to a robust .329/.407/.617 with 29 homers, 104 RBI and 94 runs scored overall. ... Kevin Newman scored three runs while going 4-for-4 with a double, RBI, and two stolen bases in the Pirates' 9-8 victory over the Reds on Sunday. Hello, Newman. The shortstop's steals give him 13 on the year in 19 chances. Not a great number, but it could be worse. What also could be much worse is his average, and the four-hit day pushes him up to .302 with a .763 OPS. The 26-year-old has also hit seven homers and driven in 44 runs in his first full year as a starter with the Bucs. Keep in mind that Newman was a first-round pick, so this hasn't come out of nowhere. He's definitely someone you want to keep an eye on going forward, that's for sure.
American League Quick Hits: Tyler Glasnow (forearm) will throw live batting practice on Tuesday. It will be his first time facing hitters since he went down with a flexor strain back in May. If things go well Tuesday, Glasnow is likely to be cleared to begin a rehab assignment. He could be ready to rejoin the Rays in the second week of September and will be used as a reliever down the stretch. ... Eddie Rosario (hamstring) remained out of the Twins' lineup Sunday. Rosario has now missed three straight starts with a right hamstring injury. The Twins are off Monday and are likely hoping their left fielder will be ready to play Tuesday. Luis Arraez got a start in left on Sunday, with Jonathan Schoop handling second base. ... Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that the Rangers appear to be giving Rougned Odor "one last opportunity" to turn things around before they bench him. Odor's OPS for the season is down to .694 following another rough stretch. The club has tried to tinker with Odor's swing - eliminating as much extra movement as possible in hopes that he will improve his pitch recognition - but it hasn't worked to this point. With the arrival of Nick Solak and the breakout year from Danny Santana, the Rangers have other options at second base. Odor has three more years and $35 million remaining on his contract but appears to be running out of time. ... Jonathan Villar hit his 20th home run of the season in the Orioles' 8-3 win over the Rays on Sunday. It was a fourth-inning solo shot off Jalen Beeks. Villar has now homered in three straight games and five of his last seven starts. He also has 28 stolen bases on the year. It's been a miserable 2019 in Baltimore, but Villar is sure bringing the heat in fantasy ... Franmil Reyes slugged two home runs, tallying four total RBI, in the Indians' extra-innings loss to the Royals on Sunday. Reyes hit a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning and then blasted a game-tying three-run bomb off Ian Kennedy in the bottom of the ninth, but the Indians would ultimately fall to Kansas City in 10 frames. Reyes is up to five home runs and 14 RBI in 23 games with the Indians, who acquired him from the Padres at the July 31 trade deadline. ... Domingo German earned his 17th victory of the season on Sunday night, limiting the Dodgers to just one run on five hits over six strong innings. The right-hander punched out five on the night while issuing two free passes. He served up a leadoff solo home run to Joc Pederson in the opening inning, then kept the Dodgers off the board for the remainder of the night. Now 17-3 on the season, he'll carry a 4.03 ERA and 1.14 WHIP into Saturday's matchup against the Athletics. German's 17 victories are the most in all of baseball, two more than Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg and Eduardo Rodriguez. ... Marco Gonzales held the Blue Jays to one run on three hits over seven innings in a 3-1 win Sunday. The southpaw kept the exciting young Jays offense under wraps for most of the day, with only a Bo Bichette leadoff double in the sixth inning leading to a run. Otherwise he was stingy, allowing just two singles and walking two while striking out five over his seven innings. The win improved Gonzales to 14-10 through 28 starts, an impressive record on a team with 56 wins in total. The 27-year-old will carry a 4.17 ERA and 1.34 WHIP into Friday's contest against the Rangers.