Guardians star Ramírez has thumb injury, surgery scheduled

CLEVELAND (AP) — José Ramírez didn’t let a torn thumb ligament stop him from leading the Guardians during a surprising season.

Cleveland’s All-Star third baseman played the second half — as well as the team’s playoff run that ended Tuesday in the AL Division Series — with a torn right thumb ligament that will require surgery.

The team said Ramírez injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb during a June game in Los Angeles. The 30-year-old could have opted for surgery, which would have sidelined him for two months, but decided to keep playing.

He’ll now have an operation in the next few weeks. Renowned hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham will perform the surgery in Dayton, Ohio.

The Guardians said the rehab will not significantly impact his offseason training or Ramírez’s availability for next season. The team is expected to have more details later this week.

The revelation of Ramírez’s injury came one day after the Guardians, who went 92-70 and won the AL Central before beating Tampa Bay in the wild-card round, were eliminated from the postseason with a 5-1 loss in Game 5 to the New York Yankees.

Ramírez went 1 for 3 in the finale, driving in Cleveland’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. He batted .400 (8 of 20) in the five-game series against New York with two doubles and two RBIs.

Despite the injury, Ramírez had another stellar season in 2022, which he began by signing a seven-year, $141 million contract that likely will keep him with the Guardians for the rest of his career.

The switch-hitting Ramírez batted .280 with 29 home runs and 126 RBIs in 157 games. The four-time All-Star finished just five RBIs behind league leader Aaron Judge. He could wind up in the top three in AL MVP voting for the fourth time in his career.

Although there were stretches when Ramírez wasn’t driving the ball like normal, his stats barely dipped as the Guardians surged in September to win their division by 11 games over the Chicago White Sox.

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