8/28/2014 12:21 A.M. ET
Ramirez opening eyes at shortstop
By Jordan Bastian and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- After the Indians traded veteran shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals last month, it appeared to clear top prospect Francisco Lindor's path to the Majors. That might still hold true for next season, but Cleveland is currently taking a close look at another young shortstop: Jose Ramirez.
Perceived as second baseman or future utility man, Ramirez was handed the keys to short for the rest of this season, and the youngster has impressed in the field. With his solid defensive showing and offensive contributions, the 21-year-old Ramirez has given the Tribe some things to think about over the winter.
"I don't think we were surprised," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Ramirez's play. "I just think that when people in our industry look at somebody and don't see maybe a big arm, they immediately go, 'Second base.' Well, his range is tremendous and he moves his feet really well and he's got a good clock.
"I guess what I'm saying is, he's done a heck of a job at short. We know he can play second. We've put him at third. But he's a pretty good shortstop. When we traded Cabby, there was a reason. And it wasn't because we didn't like Cabby."
Through 24 appearances at shortstop this season, Ramirez has turned in a negative 1.8 UZR/150, which ranked him 12th among the 21 American League shortstops with at least 200 innings in the field this season. By comparison, Cabrera had a negative 10.4 rating (17th in the AL). According to Fangraphs.com, Ramirez has zero Defensive Runs Saved (ninth in the AL) in 212 1/3 innings, but that is the same as Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar through his 1,163 2/3 innings.
In the Minor Leagues, Ramirez played mostly second base (199 games), but shortstop (74 games) was his secondary position. He also played some third and outfield in the Minors. In his brief stint with Cleveland last season, Ramirez only logged two innings at shortstop.
"I've been really impressed with how he's played over there," said Indians third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh, who is also the team's infield instructor. "The one thing that's impressed me is, not only what he's shown with his range, but he's got very good baseball instincts. He reads balls off the bat very well. He anticipates where the ball is going to be and is very accurate with his throws. He's got a good, quick release. He's definitely opened eyes out there."
Catch shows healthy Bourn at his best
CHICAGO -- Anyone doubting Michael Bourn's health need only to look to the eighth inning of Tuesday's win over the White Sox for some peace of mind. The Indians' center fielder made a spectacular diving catch that required both speed and athleticism.
Bourn's left hamstring appears to be holding up just fine for now.
"He's not playing with any fear," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The play in question came with the score caught in a 6-6 deadlock in the eighth, when Indians reliever Scott Atchison squared off against Chicago veteran Paul Konerko. The 38-year-old slugger lofted a pitch to shallow center, where shortstop Jose Ramirez and second baseman Jason Kipnis convened well short of the fly ball.
Bourn got a good jump, staying low, sprinting in and diving forward to pluck the baseball from the air before it dropped to the grass. Francona was blown away by the play, which proved key in the Indians being able to keep the score knotted en route to an 8-6 win in 10 innings.
"I should've brought that up last night after the game," Francona said on Wednesday. "That might've been one of the plays of the game. Who knows what they can do [if it's a hit]? They can pinch-run. That was leadoff and that was Atch's last hitter. ... When the ball left his bat, I was like, 'Dang, man. Runner on first at worst.'
"I was looking at our middle infielders, because I knew they couldn't get there. [Bourn] came out of nowhere. And if you look at the jump, he got really low. If he stands up on that ball, he never gets it. He stayed low. That was a really good play."
Bourn was shelved from July 6-Aug. 15 with a left hamstring injury, marking the third setback with the same hamstring this season. It is also the same one he had surgically repaired last October. The diving catch on Tuesday night showed clearly that the center fielder is feeling like his old self again for Cleveland.
"He's a pretty darned good outfielder," Francona said. "That ball, he had no chance unless he did everything fundamentally perfect. ... I think he did such a good job on his rehab and, to be honest with you, before he hurt it again, he was doing fine. It just happened."
Mejia gets four hits, walk-off RBI for Mahoning Valley
Catcher Francisco Mejia, the Indians' No. 6 prospect, collected four hits and delivered a walk-off single on Wednesday night, leading short-season Mahoning Valley to an 8-7 victory against Jamestown.
With the game tied and one out in the bottom of the ninth, center fielder Bradley Zimmer, the Indians' No. 4 prospect, reached base on an error, bringing Mejia to the plate. Zimmer stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Taylor Gushue. Mejia made Jamestown pay for the errors, pulling a single to right to bring home Zimmer and give the Scrappers the victory.
Mejia finished the game 4-for-5 with a double, a triple, a run and five RBIs. He set career highs for both hits and RBIs, while also contributing defensively by picking a runner off first base.
In 61 games this season, Mejia is hitting .277/.331/.394. The 18-year old is the seventh-youngest position player in the New York-Penn League.
Zimmer, the Indians' first-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, went 0-for-2 with two walks, three runs and two stolen bases. He is hitting .311/.407/.478 with 11 stolen bases in 43 games since signing.
Quote to note
"Cody was losing his mind. I was actually laughing in here, because I knew he was losing his mind. There's no way he should've pitched last night, and we wouldn't let him. But it's nice to have guys who feel like that."
-- Francona, on closer Cody Allen, who was unavailable to pitch in Tuesday's 8-6 win over the White Sox
• Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who is on Major League Baseball's seven-day concussion list, continued to show improvement on Wednesday, according to Francona. It is possible that Gomes will be activated when he is first eligible on Friday in Kansas City, where the Indians will play a three-game series this weekend.
"He wants to play today, which is good," Francona said with a laugh on Wednesday. "He's not and he can't, but he's really doing well. In fairness to him, it's probably not fair to say he's going to play Friday, but unless he has a setback somewhere, he's right on pace."
• Designated hitter Jason Giambi (on the disabled list since June 12 with a left knee issue) went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in his first Minor League rehab game with Double-A Akron on Tuesday. Utility man Ryan Raburn (on DL with right wrist injury) began his rehab assignment with Akron on Wednesday night.
• First-base prospect Jesus Aguilar went 1-for-4 with a home run on Tuesday to help Triple-A Columbus claim a 3-1 win over Toledo and capture the International League's West Division crown. In 114 games this season, Aguilar has hit .302 with 19 homers and 74 RBIs for the Clippers.