The Indians waited and waited and waited some more, but finally on Tuesday afternoon, they could wait no longer for Bradley Zimmer‘s injuries to heal up.
The Tribe officially placed their starting center fielder on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to May 12, with a left rib contusion. The injury was the end result of a collision with the wall at Yankee Stadium two Saturdays ago. He had missed six games and had two off days since the ill-fated wall encounter, but has still experienced discomfort while swinging. After missing the finale of the series with the Yankees, he played in the second of two games in Milwaukee against the Brewers, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout on May 9. After Thursday’s off day, he missed the entire series against the Kansas City Royals and the opener of the current series with the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
He is expected to remain out for much of the remainder of May. Taking his roster spot will be right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. The Indians also shifted left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list after experiencing a setback during his rehab assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Ramirez.
Zimmer, 25, had seen regular playing time in the Tribe’s outfield rotation. He has appeared in 32 games on the season, putting up a .224/.283/.337 line at the plate with five doubles, two homers, and nine RBI with four stolen bases in five attempts. Getting on base safely has come with some difficulties, as he has struck out more than once per game (39 times on the year) while drawing just seven walks. Defensively, he had played error-free baseball with four outfield assists, but a player lauded for his defensive skills and ability to use his speed to get to more baseballs has just a 2.7 UZR and a 0 defensive runs saved stat.
It is technically the first time that Zimmer has landed on the 10-day disabled list during his Major League career. He did not need to be placed on the list last September (due to roster expansion) when he missed the final three weeks of the season after fracturing his left hand when he was stepped on diving head first into first base.
Ramirez was off to a good start at Triple-A while working in his eleventh professional season. He was a supplemental pick in the first round of the 2007 draft by Texas.
Ramirez signed with the Indians in November on a minor league deal with a non-roster invitation to spring training. He showed some promise in Cactus League play, striking out nine and walking two in eight innings of work over nine games, but he allowed six runs and five home runs during his time on the mound.
He joined the Clippers at the start of the International League schedule and had appeared in 13 games, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.55 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He had allowed just 13 hits and three walks, but probably much more impressive was his 31 strikeouts recorded (a 15.8 K/9 rate).
Ramirez, who is ten days short of turning 29, had previously spent parts of four seasons in the Majors. He pitched in relief for the Chicago Cubs from 2014 to 2016. He also split the 2017 season with time with the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins. Last season, he pitched in the Majors for the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets and spent the last two months of the minor league schedule pitching for the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.
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