CLEVELAND — Indians third baseman José Ramírez took batting practice Thursday for the first time since breaking his right hand last month and is hoping to return before the end of the regular season.
Ramírez had surgery for a broken hamate bone Aug. 26, and the expected recovery window had him slated for game action in early October. The last day of the regular season is Sept. 29.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said there’s no new timeline for Ramírez’s return, but it was encouraging that Ramírez felt good after swinging from both sides of the plate.
Ramírez is batting .254 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs despite a sluggish start. He hit .325 with 15 homers, 47 RBIs and a 1.045 OPS in the 53 games before the surgery.
The club is already without second baseman Jason Kipnis for the rest of the season, also because of a broken right hamate bone.
Cleveland is four games behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central and a half-game behind Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card. The Indians trail Oakland by 2 ½ games for the top wild card.