Is Jose Ramirez's Thumb Cause for Concern for the Indians Down the Stretch?

Matt Loede

Monday night Indians third basemen Jose Ramirez left the game in the sixth inning with what the team is calling a "sore left thumb."

You could see Ramirez cringe at the plate after swinging at a pitch, and there's already concern about him missing time.

Yes Ramirez is not having the type of season he did in the second half of 2019 when he was the team's best hitter, but he's still one of the staples of a lineup that has had plenty of struggles in 2020.

This season Ramirez is hitting .246 with nine homers, 26 runs batted in and nine steals.

He's been hitting in the two spot most of the year behind leadoff man Cesar Hernandez, and in front of shortstop Francisco Lindor.

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After the game, acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. stated that it's likely that the team will give Ramirez Tuesday night off to rest the thumb, and Mike Freeman, who came in Monday's game as a replacement and earned a RBI after a sac fly, will get the start.

“It’s just a nagging thing that’s (happening) over and over,” said Alomar after the Tribe win.

“I think it’s kind of wearing him out mentally in my opinion. Today, he felt it again and we made the decision to pull him out of the game just to give him a chance to recuperate.”

The mental aspect is something that might be just as important as the physical aspect, as the Indians had to deal with a similar situation a few years back with pitcher Danny Salazar, who always seemed to have issues with his elbow.

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Ramirez has always been one to want to be on the field, and it's not like him to not want to be in the team's starting lineup.

The club is very much a better team with him playing, and his play Sunday deep in the hole at third base was one of the best of the season.

While Ramirez isn't hitting .300 and slugging homers and extra base hits like fans have been accustomed to seeing, he's still a big staple in this team's lineup.

His hand last year was part of the reason the season didn't end up with a playoff birth, and while the Tribe is going to make the postseason in the expanded playoffs of 2020, there's plenty of hope that Ramirez's thumb won't be a reason the postseason has a quick and forgettable exit. 

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2

You are correct, they said today (Wed) it really doesn't bother him batting RH so let's hope it gets better soon. We are not scheduled to see many left handers in the near future.


From what we know about the thumb injury, it's not hard to discern that it is likely the reason for his lagging numbers at the plate. He came out red-hot, right where he left off in 2019. And then in early August (around the time of the injury), he hit a wall and he barely hit above .200 in August. He's still raking against LHP and hitting a more Jose-like .333/.400/.700 (or so). In addition, his EV is slightly down, his PU% is way up, and his LA is way up. His split v RHP (which he usually mashes) is .220/.340/.400 (or so).

Given the injury is to the thumb of his top hand of his left handed swing, I don't think it's too hard to see that the thumb is likely why he hasnt been knocking around RHP. The top hand is very important and I think he's been trying to compensate unsuccessfully. The result has been weak, high LA contact.

When his thumb gets right, he'll be fine. I mention all this only to rebut the implicit notion in the article that his stuggles at the plate and the thumb aren't related.