Ron Gardenhire sticks with his regulars for Game 3 vs. Yanks

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hinted at possibly using Alexi Casilla in place of J.J. Hardy or Danny Valencia with the team facing elimination in Game 3 against the Yankees tonight, but he has all of his regulars in there against Phil Hughes (via Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Jim Thome, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
J.J. Hardy, SS

The lefty-heavy Twins weren’t able to muster much in the way of offense against southpaws CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte over the first two games of the series, but they should be a bit more comfortable Phil Hughes tonight. 17 of the 25 home runs that Hughes allowed during the regular season came against left-handed batters. Unsurprisingly, opposing batters had a 754 OPS against Hughes at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium this season compared to a 624 OPS on the road.   

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.