The Astros had no real use for Ben Francisco after acquiring him from the Blue Jays in last month’s 10-player deal, so they moved him right along Friday, sending him to Tampa Bay for a player to be named.
Francisco played in 31 games in his six weeks with the Astros and hit .247/.289/.365 in 85 at-bats. That’s more action that he saw in 3 1/2 months with the Jays earlier this season, as he hit .240/.296/.380 in 50 at-bats for Toronto.
Francisco will likely go back to seeing less playing time in Tampa Bay. He doesn’t have much of a platoon split, so he’s only so useful as a starter against lefties. Still, as a fifth outfielder who can play pretty good defense in the corners, he’s worth the roster spot.
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.