Javier Báez not expected to return in September

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Cubs shortstop Javier Báez isn’t expected to play for the remainder of the regular season due to a hairline fracture in his left thumb, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Báez jammed his left thumb during a game against the Brewers on September 1. He will rehab with the hope of joining the Cubs in the postseason. The Cubs entered Monday leading the second NL Wild Card by 1.5 games.

Along with his trademark outstanding defense, the 26-year-old Báez has hit .281/.316/.532 with 29 home runs, 85 RBI, and 88 runs scored in 560 plate appearances this season.

With both Báez and Addison Russell (head injury) sidelined, the Cubs called up prospect Nico Hoerner from Double-A Tennessee. He’s the Cubs’ No. 1 prospect and No. 47 in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. The Cubs put him in Monday night’s starting lineup against the Padres, batting sixth and playing shortstop.

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.