Mets sign Duane Below

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According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Mets have signed left-hander Duane Below to a minor league contract. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes that he will not receive an invite to major league camp.

Below previously appeared in the majors with the Tigers and Marlins, posting a 4.23 ERA over 40 relief appearances and three starts. He had a brief stint with the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization in 2013. The 29-year-old mostly pitched as a starter last season with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate and compiled a 3.70 ERA and 62/41 K/BB ratio over 116 2/3 innings.

Josh Edgin is the lone lock as a left-hander in New York’s bullpen, so it’s still possible that Below will be considered this spring. Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin along with Scott Rice, Dario Alvarez, Darin Gorski, and Jack Leathersich are the other current candidates as second left-handers.

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.