The Cleveland Indians got some bad news today in the midst of their playoff run. As they prepare for their final stretch of baseball and compete with the Athletics and Rays for a Wild Card spot, the Tribe will be without two-time All Star second baseman, Jason Kipnis. The team announced today that Kipnis “felt a recurrence of right wrist and hand discomfort on a swing and miss during Sunday’s game vs. Minnesota.”
Testing showed Kipnis suffered a fracture of his hook of the hamate bone. He is expected to require surgical intervention. The typical time frame for return to game activity is four to six weeks. That timeline brings us to mid-October at the earliest — at that point, the American League Championship Series will be entering its third game. As for the six-week benchmark, that timetable would set his return back to October 29, the day of the sixth game of the World Series. At that point, of course, the Indians would not even consider activating him.
The Indians are no stranger to fractured hamate bones, as third baseman Jose Ramirez underwent surgery for that exact surgery just under a month ago; he suffered the injury when he swung and missed at a pitch, just as Kipnis has done.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound second baseman has appeared in just 121 games, his second lowest log since 2011. In 511 plate appearances, he is slashing .245/.304/.410 with 65 RBI, 17 homers, 112 hits, 52 runs, 40 walks, and 88 strikeouts. He has stolen seven bases on nine attempts.
2019 is the final year of Kipnis’s six-year, $52.5 million contract he signed ahead of the 2014 season. While the Indians technically could pick up his 2020 option worth $16.5 million, the injury risk is not worth it. The Indians will buy out his option for $2.5 million and the former second-round pick out of Arizona State will become a free agent on the heels of his wrist injury.