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Indians place José Ramírez on injured list with fractured hamate bone

This is brutal news for an Indians team that is making a serious push for another AL Central title.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians Photo by Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians have placed third baseman José Ramírez on the 10-day injured list with a fractured hamate bone in his right hand, the club announced Sunday morning:

Infielder Yu Chang, the team’s No. 11 prospect who made his big-league debut in late June, was recalled to take Ramírez’s spot on the roster.

The 26-year-old Ramírez, a late-blooming prospect who broke out for the AL pennant-winning Indians in 2016 and finished third in AL MVP voting in both 2017-18, endured a brutal first half this season, posting a .218/.308/.344 slash line with seven homers in 363 plate appearances. He had been back to his old self since the All-Star break, though, hitting .327/.363/.705 with 13 homers in 168 PAs, and his resurgence had played a major role in the Indians’ midseason push to challenge the Twins for the division lead.

Ramírez will have surgery to remove the bone Monday in New York and the team will then develop a recovery timetable. Typical recovery for this type of injury, however, is usually 4-6 weeks.

With Ramírez out, utility infielder Mike Freeman appears to be the obvious candidate to take over as Cleveland’s starter at the hot corner. The 32-year-old has enjoyed a breakout season while getting his most extensive MLB action to date in 2019, posting a .283/.371/.442 slash line with four homers in 137 plate appearances. Chang, who is hitting .253/.322/.427 with nine homers at Triple-A Columbus this season, could also be a candidate to see time at the position.