Jorge Soler
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Jorge Soler unlikely to return in 2018

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler isn’t guaranteed to return to the field this season, manager Ned Yost told reporters Sunday. Soler had been working his way back from a lengthy stint on the disabled list after he fractured his left toe in mid-June, but experienced an unanticipated setback in his recovery this week and is no longer a lock to rejoin the team before the end of 2018.

Soler, 26, is in his second year with the Royals following a swap for the Cubs’ Wade Davis in the 2016 offseason. This was shaping up to be his most productive season to date: prior to the injury, he slashed .265/.354/.466 with nine home runs and an .820 OPS through 257 plate appearances for the team. During his two-game rehab stint at Triple-A Omaha, he went 2-for-8 with a pair of base hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

While Yost didn’t reveal the exact nature of the setback, it doesn’t sound like Soler is facing anything serious enough to compromise his playing time in 2019. Surgery was ruled out as a potential fix for the fracture earlier this season, and it’s likely that Soler is just looking at another few weeks of rest and rehabilitation at this point. The Royals, meanwhile, still have several options in the right field corner, with Jorge Bonifacio and Rosell Herrera to continue holding down the fort in Soler’s absence.

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.