Indians star Ramirez hurts knee, opening day status unsure
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez bruised his left knee when he fouled a ball off himself Sunday and his status for opening day is uncertain.
X-rays on the two-time All-Star were negative. The team said Ramirez will remain in Arizona, and that it will be determined later whether he can play Thursday when the AL Central champions open at Minnesota.
The Indians already had a depleted infield when Ramirez was carted from the field after getting hurt against the Chicago White Sox in Cleveland’s final exhibition of the year in Arizona. He wasn’t able to put any pressure on his leg as manager Terry Francona and a trainer helped him onto the cart.
The 26-year-old Ramirez hit 39 home runs with 105 RBIs while batting .270 and stealing 34 bases last season. He has finished third in the AL MVP voting in each of the last two seasons.
Star shortstop Francisco Lindor is starting the season on the injured list and second baseman Jason Kipnis is expected to miss opening day — both players are recovering after staining their right calf.
Earlier in the day, the Indians signed Brad Miller to provide depth.
Miller had signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers on Feb. 27. He opted out of it on March 21 and signed a major league deal with the Indians.
The Indians cleared a roster spot for Miller by placing pitcher Danny Salazar on the 60-day injured list while he rehabs his right shoulder from surgery.
Miller joins Max Moroff and Eric Stamets in the middle infield.
“He has a done a lot of damage against right-handed pitching,” Francona said, before the Ramirez injury. “We will mix and match a bit depending how guys are swinging the bat. Our guys did a good job of finding someone who could help us at this late stage of spring. That’s not an easy thing to do.”
Miller played with the Rays and Brewers last season, his sixth in the league since he was the Mariners’ second-round pick. He played three seasons with the Mariners before moving on to the Rays.
Miller hit .230 in 75 games last season. He has a .239 average with 75 home runs in 680 games. He has played all four infield positions, 375 at shortstop and 156 at second base.
The Indians will keep Hanley Ramirez on the opening day roster as a designated hitter and part time first baseman.