AL Central Notes: Ramirez, Indians, Tigers, Jones, Eloy

The Indians received a scare when Jose Ramirez fouled a ball off his left knee during the third inning of today’s game against the White Sox.  Ramirez had to be carted off the field, though it seems as though the worst was avoided, as x-rays came back negative on the injury.  (’s Jeff Passan was among those to report the news.)  It isn’t clear if the knee contusion could still cause Ramirez to miss regular-season time or even require an IL stint — if the latter, it would another big blow to a Tribe infield that is already without Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis for the start of the season.  As per the team’s official Twitter feed, Ramirez will remain at the Tribe’s Spring Training camp for treatment, and his status is undecided for Opening Day.

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Some more from the AL Central…

  • Hanley Ramirez is looking like a strong bet to break camp with the Indians, as manager Terry Francona told’s Mandy Bell and other reporters that “if we stay put” with roster moves, Ramirez will make the team.  Today was the opt-out date in the veteran slugger’s minor league contract with Cleveland, though it looks as if a quality Spring Training performance (.844 OPS in 38 PA) has earned Ramirez the opportunity to appear in his 15th Major League season.  Ramirez is something of a limited resource on the 25-man roster, as the team intends to use him only as a designated hitter, though his presence allows Jake Bauers to be spelled against tough left-handed pitching.  Assuming Ramirez does officially make the roster, he’ll earn $1MM in guaranteed salary.
  • JaCoby Jones will start the season on the IL after suffering a left shoulder sprain while diving for a ball on Saturday.  Speaking with media (including Chris McCosky of the Detroit News), Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire hinted at a rough 2-3 week timeline for Jones’ recovery, though Gardenhire’s estimate seemed speculative.  Jones and Mikie Mahtook were slated to share center field duties for the Tigers, though Niko Goodrum will now see some time in center with Jones out, plus outfielder Dustin Peterson could now factor into Detroit’s Opening Day plans.
  • Eloy Jimenez’s record-setting extension with the White Sox was almost completed last November at the GM Meetings, GM Rick Hahn told’s Scott Merkin and other reporters, but the final details weren’t put into place until the two sides held face-to-face meetings over the last few days.  The result was a six-year, $43MM pact, the biggest extension ever given to a player who has yet to play a Major League game.  There has yet to be official word about whether or not Jimenez will be with the Sox on Opening Day, though there wouldn’t seem to be any service-time obstacles now that the White Sox control Jimenez for as many as his first eight big league seasons.

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