Aramis Ramirez expected to replace Placido Polanco on All-Star team

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If Bruce Bochy was given the choice, he probably would have taken Aramis Ramirez in place of Chipper Jones when the latter was ruled out of the All-Star Game following knee surgery.

It wasn’t Bochy’s choice, though, and Scott Rolen, who finished behind Jones in the players’ vote, was forced on him as Chipper’s replacement.

Now, with starting third baseman Placido Polanco out due to a back injury, Bochy will get to make the call and Ramirez is his likely pick, he told ESPN this afternoon.

Ramirez, who has been on fire for a few weeks now, is up to .302/.350/.503 with 15 homers and 50 RBI this season, compared to .244/.277/.403 with five homers and 35 RBI for Rolen.  Since Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval have all missed big chunks of the first half, Ramirez is the obvious choice to receive the nod.

The only thing that might have stood in Ramirez’s way is Bochy’s fondness for his own third baseman, Sandoval.  Sandoval has hit in 20 straight games and is at .305/.345/.505 for the season, so he there certainly would have been some justification for taking him over Rolen.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.