It wouldn’t be an Indians playoff run with a devastating injury.
After exiting Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals gripping his wrist and wincing in pain, José Ramírez has officially be placed on the 10-day injured list with a fractured hamate bone. It confirms essentially the worst case scenario for the “wrist discomfort” the team initially disclosed Saturday night.
Ramírez is flying to New York to have surgery Monday and a timetable is expected to come from the Indians after that.
Typically, the recovery time for a fractured hamate bone is between six to eight weeks, and surgery is often required to remove the small triangle-shaped bone at the base of the palm. Hamate bone injuries are relatively common among hitters in baseball, and can have long-term effects on a batter’s power.
Most recently, Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone on July 25 and he is not expected to play again this season. One of the Indians’ top outfield prospects, Daniel Johnson, also had a fractured hamate bone that kept him sidelined for the end of the 2018 season.
Back in 2009, Carlos Santana — then a highly touted catching prospect — fractured the hamate bone in his right hand. Santana missed most of 2010, but still was able to debut with the Indians. He slashed .260/.401/.467 in his rookie season, and needless to say his power wasn’t negatively affected.
As of now, it doesn’t appear that José will be able to make much of an impact in the playoff push, unless we get some extremely good news in the next couple days. Prior to the injury, Ramírez was in the midst of a resurgence after a slump that last yearly a calendar year turned him into a well-below average hitter. He has slashed .327/.363/.705 with 18 doubles, 13 home runs, and a triple since the All-Star break.
The Indians have promoted Yu Chang to replace José on the roster, but it isn’t yet clear who will get the majority of playing time at third base going forward. All signs point to a hard regression coming for Mike Freeman, who has a 114 wRC+ in 137 plate appearances for the Indians this season. But he’s earned the trust of his manager in key situations.
Chang, on the other hand, has slashed .253/.322/.427 in 68 games with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers this season. He went 0-for-4 in his only two games with the Indians this season — two games in which the Indians lost by a combined score of 26-0 to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Hopefully Chang, and the Indians as a whole, can have been luck this time around.