CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez may be the starting third baseman for the American League at next week’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but the veteran infielder has no plans on slowing down.
In fact, the opposite is true for Ramirez, as he plans on pressing forward and using his first-ever All-Star nod as a platform to improve.
“I feel really happy,” Ramirez said after the announcement earlier this week. “It’s a blessing that God has given to me, and I’m going to keep playing hard.”
Over 82 games this season, Ramirez has collected 102 hits in 313 at-bats (.326 batting average), including 47 for extra bases (27 doubles, five triples, 15 home runs). Ramirez has driven in 42 runs, scored 59 and drawn 27 walks against 39 strikeouts.
A native of Bani, Dominican Republic, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Ramirez leads the Indians in runs, hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases, is second in home runs and fourth in RBI.
And if the past is any indication, the Indians, who hold a half-game lead over the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central Division standings, very much look forward to Ramirez’s production over the second half of the season.
“It’s been fun to watch,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s been both sides of the plate, and he gets so dangerous when he gets in one of these (grooves). It’s not just singles. He’s hitting the ball a long way, and again, there’s a reason why he’s hitting behind Edwin (Encarnacion) because that’s how dangerous he is.”
By getting 21 hits in 37 at-bats over a seven-day period in late June, Ramirez raised his batting average by 36 points. Ramirez smacked 10 doubles, one triple and three home runs with seven RBI and 12 runs scored, all while leading the Indians to a six-game winning streak during that stretch.
Ramirez had at least one double in seven straight games, including multiple two-base hits in three of those outings.
“He deserves it,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “If there’s one guy on this team that deserves it, he does. He definitely does.
“Other guys deserve it as well, but he’s been helping us win, day-in and day-out, and I’m looking forward to seeing him open the All-Star Game. It’s going to be very special for him and his family, and it’s going to be special for us as well.”
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