The Cleveland Indians are going over several options as it pertains to the issues at second base when it was announced that two-time American League All-Star Jason Kipnis would miss time because of a shoulder injury.
With the timetable for Kipnis’ return not yet determined, the Indians are going over all of their options for potential replacements, and one includes moving Jose Ramirez over to second base and having Giovanny Urshela make his return to the Major League level after spending 2016 in the minors.
“If you’re looking at third basemen, that’s kind of the logical one,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Those are things we kind of need to think through.”
Last year, Ramirez settled into a spot at third base and had a career year with 176 hits in 565 at-bats over 152 games during the regular season. Ramirez smacked 46 doubles, hit three triples and belted 11 home runs with 76 runs batted in and another 84 scored.
During the postseason, Ramirez had 15 hits in 56 at-bats with two doubles and one home run, which proved to be the only run in a 1-0 Indians victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the 2017 World Series at Wrigley Field.
While Ramirez flourished, Urshela spent all season with the Columbus Clippers, the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate. In Columbus, Urshela, who is currently playing for Team Columbia in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, registered 128 hits in 468 at-bats (.274 batting average) with 24 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 57 RBI with 54 runs scored.
Regardless of if Urshela is promoted to the Major League level or not, the Indians will focus on continuing to develop his talents so that he can reach his full potential with the club.
“If supposedly, he’s blocked -- Ramirez is playing third, and right now, he’s playing it real well -- if somebody’s in his way, we need to make sure his development doesn’t stall,” Francona said. “I think for a while last year, it did.
“He hasn’t been in camp now for a week, but it’s a really good point, and it’s something we need to prevent because he’s got too good of a chance to be an every-day Major League third baseman. For a half a year or full year, whatever it ends up being, we don’t want to miss out on that because supposedly somebody in his way. We’ve seen it happen before.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV