The Cleveland Indians were already short-handed because of 11 players participating in the 2017 World Baseball Classic when news broke Sunday that All-Star-caliber second baseman Jason Kipnis was going to be sidelined because of a shoulder issue.
Now, the Indians are in the discovery mode as to the severity of the shoulder issue.
“All the same,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kipnis’ status. “He’s just now at the beginning of getting treatment stuff.”
Although the Indians do not yet know the length of time that Kipnis will be sidelined with the injury, they are going through all of the contingencies to see the best course of action should the timetable be an extensive one.
“Those are things we’re going to have to think about,” Francona said. “The good side is we have two-and-a-half weeks to kind of consider options, and some of it might be dependent on how long we think Kip’s going to miss. If he’s going to miss three or four days or a week, I’m not sure you go out and get a player.
“The best thing we can do is get a good look at everybody in our camp. Sometimes, you go out looking and you have the guy right in front of you. We have guys in this camp that have done a pretty good job, and like I said, we’ll see. First things first, let’s see what they say about Kip moving forward, and then, we just get a good read on our guys. That’s probably the best way to go about it.”
Should the Indians need to make a decision on a replacement for Kipnis heading into the regular season, emerging standout Jose Ramirez could be an option, especially with his pedigree as a middle infielder coming up through the farm system.
However, last year, Ramirez settled into a home 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 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field.
“He certainly could,” Francona said of Ramirez moving to second base. “We moved him around so much last year, and he did do a good job. That’s something we’re going to talk about. I think our first choice is not to, but we’ll see. We’ll see.
“I don’t think it’d be a tough…I don’t know that I’d even call it a transition. That’s his original position, so we’ll talk about that in the next couple days. I don’t think any of us are that concerned. If we did do that, it would be very easy for him.”
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