Jose Altuve, Justin Morneau win AL, NL batting titles

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Astros second baseman Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single in Sunday’s regular season finale, a loss in New York to the Mets. Altuve ends the season with a .341 average, six points ahead of Victor Martinez in second place, to win the AL batting title. Martinez went 0-for-3 in the Tigers’ AL Central-clinching 3-0 win against the Twins. Altuve, the first batting champion from the Astros, also tied for the second-most steals in baseball with Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton at 56.

On the National League side of things, Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau did not start for a second consecutive game but won the batting title anyway. His competition, Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison, went 0-for-4 in the Pirates’ 4-1 loss to the Reds. Harrison’s average dropped to .315, four points behind Morneau. Morneau’s .319 average is the lowest for a batting champion since Terry Pendleton hit the same in 1991.

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.