CLEVELAND – Jose Ramirez's regular season is over. The postseason remains in play.
Cleveland's hard-hitting third baseman is expected to need five to seven weeks to recover after undergoing hand surgery Monday in New York. Ramirez, whose hot bat the past two months helped get the Indians back into playoff contention, fractured the hamate bone in his right hand while taking a hard swing during the first inning of Saturday's game against Kansas City.
The team estimates he could be back as early as Oct. 1, when the AL playoffs open.
But the loss of Ramirez will make it tough to reach October for the Indians, who trailed first-place Minnesota by 3½ games in the AL Central entering Tuesday but have a one-half game lead in the wild-card race with 31 games remaining.
"The best way to handle it is to do the same thing we try to do every day — go out and win a game," manager Terry Francona said Tuesday in Detroit before the Indians opened a three-game series. "Obviously, Jose is a great player, so this isn't going to be something that helps us, but now we know the situation, but we have to keep doing what we need to do."