CLEVELAND -- Third baseman Jose Ramirez was out of the lineup Friday after sustaining a bruised left foot and leaving Thursday’s series opener against Toronto prior to the ninth inning.
Manager Terry Francona said precautionary X-rays were negative.
“He woke up and he was really stiff and sore, which is not shocking when you look at the weather and everything,” Francona said. “He’s actually moving around a lot better already. We’ll see about later on pinch hitting him. I’d just hate to turn a one-day thing into a four-day thing, but I think he’s going to be fine.”
Ramirez did pinch hit in the eighth inning, walking on four pitches and then stealing second. Ramirez, who struggled mightily at the end of last season, is off to a slow start, batting only .136 (3-for-22) with a double and an RBI.
- Second baseman Jason Kipnis (right calf strain) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
“The body feels finally good. Calf and ankle feel good,” Kipnis said after working out with the Indians prior to Thursday’s game. “Everything’s starting to get into place. The muscles are where they need to be.
“It was nice that part of the time that I missed was during spring training. It wasn’t during the season, so it cut that down. You mix that in with some of the off-days we got early on and cold weather in April that isn’t my favorite, either. Obviously I want to be out there and playing with these guys and helping right now. But the time that I did miss was beneficial for me and I was able to get my legs under me again. So hopefully we’ll come out the gate running here.”
- Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez made a successful debut in Columbus‘ season opener Thursday, going 2-for-4 with a double and RBI in a 10-4 victory over Indianapolis. Gonzalez was scheduled to play again Friday night, but there’s no official timetable for him to join the Indians.
“We’ve got to do things right, even when it’s not convenient,” Francona said. “You’ve heard me say it before. You’ve got to treat these guys and let them get not only their bats in shape, but their bodies used to what it takes to play.”
Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star who hit .276 with 16 home runs and 64 RBIs in 132 games for Colorado last year, can opt out of his minor league contract if he’s not added to the big league roster by April 20.
Francisco Lindor’s replacement Eric Stamets entered Friday still searching for his first major league hit -- 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts in six games.
“I think he’s just in a mode where he’s kinda getting under everything and swinging uphill,” Francona said of Stamets, who hit .202 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 78 games for Columbus last year. “One, he’s pressing, which, we’ve all been there. You get that first hit and things will loosen up a bit and you’ll see a little different guy.
“The facts are the facts. You can say whatever you want. The fact that he’s playing every day speaks volumes because we trust him at shortstop so much. You try to pat guys on the back. Sometimes you try to make them laugh. Ultimately, they’ve got to go compete.”
Without being asked, Francona told reporters that first baseman Carlos Santana and Hanley Ramirez, who were born in the Dominican Republic, had passed tests to become American citizens. They are scheduled to be sworn in April 19.
“It’s pretty cool,” Francona said. “They were both pretty proud.”
Francona said he joked with Santana on Thursday: “I said, ‘I’m calling (nonsense). Somebody did the test for you.’ So he came in and he had the questions on his phone, so we looked through the first 10. He got nine of them right. I got seven.”
- Former Indians outfielder Michael Brantley is off to a slow start for the Astros, entering Friday batting .208 with a homer, double and four RBIs in seven games.
- Yandy Diaz was hitting .333 with three doubles, a homer and an RBI in six games for Tampa Bay through Thursday.
- Left-hander Andrew Miller allowed two runs, three hits (homer) and hit two batters in his first four appearances for St. Louis.
Outfield prospect Oscar Mercado joined Gonzalez with two hits in the Clippers’ season-opening win. Mercado, 24, impressed during spring training, batting .400 (16-for-40) with three homers and nine RBIs in 21 games after being acquired in an offseason trade with St. Louis for minor leaguers Conner Capel and Jhon Torres.
But he ultimately lost a battle for a spot to, among others, Tyler Naquin, who got off to a miserable start (0-for-7 with six strikeouts). Naquin has shown signs of life lately, hitting safely in his last three games, while going 4-for-9.
Santana entered Friday leading the American League with a .450 (9-for-20) batting average and tied with Chicago’s Yoan Moncada atop the AL with a .522 on-base percentage.