Hours before the second game of the series against the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland called up an old friend.
The team called up catcher Wilson Ramos from Triple-A Columbus to fill in for Roberto Perez, who was placed on the injured list with shoulder inflammation and back issues.
Ramos was designated for assignment by the Tigers in June after he hit six home runs in 35 games this season. Though he was hampered by injuries, which opened the door for Eric Haase in Detroit.
Cleveland wasted no time getting Ramos on the field with his former team, inserting him in the starting lineup for Saturday game, behind the plate and batting seventh.
“He had no ill will or ill feelings towards us. He was disappointed just because he got a little dinged up and ended up not having a job anymore.” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “We made a decision on what we felt like was best for our two young catchers so it’s not personal. We all loved him and he gave us everything he could it just didn’t work out sometimes.
Facing a player like Ramos, with first-hand knowledge of Detroit’s inner workings, not to mention some personal motivation, would typically make the Tigers’ night at Progressive Field a little harder.
“I think there’s a little extra motivation for him to do a little damage today. I’m proud of him for fighting back in the minor leagues to get back to the big leagues,” Hinch said. “Of course the way baseball is, it leads him right back into a series against his team that he started the year out with.
“Wilson’s a tremendous person and really was fun to have around the time we had them around and it was good to see him but I will not enjoy his at-bats can. He can do some damage.”
No hard feelings
Team USA was shut out by Japan, 2-0, in the gold medal game in baseball’s return to the Summer Olympics on Saturday in Tokyo.
The silver medal finish for Team USA, comprised of minor leaguers and veteran free agents, is better than its last Olympic performance, a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Games.
“Congratulations to USA baseball for winning the silver medal,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Saturday. ‘it’s disappointing that they didn’t win the gold I’m sure but just a hat tip to the USA baseball people for a job well done.”
Hinch praised the U.S. for advocating for baseball’s inclusion into more Olympic games and hopes baseball will be an Olympic sport in 2028 Los Angeles.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Hinch won a bronze medal for the United States, and since its 13-year hiatus as an Olympic sport, Hinch enjoyed watching how USA Baseball has changed.
“When I played in it, it was the college guys so we were playing against older players in various countries. It’s now shifted to a different array of experience,” Hinch said. “I just think it’s good for us to continue to fight for our sport on that platform and to continue to showcase our players from young prospects that I’ve watched on TV to some veteran guys even with some Tiger blood. It was nice to see them get an opportunity to wear the USA across her chest.”
Rough night for the righty
Matt Manning, the 23-year-old right-hander, was roughed up by Cleveland for the second time this season on Friday. In four innings, Manning gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in the 6-1 loss.
“He was pretty hot after the game yesterday and was disappointed in how it went and I know he watched his outing and was texting (Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter) throughout the night into the morning on some observations,” Hinch said.
Without minor league play last season, Manning had an 8.07 ERA in seven starts with the Mud Hens prior to making his major league debut due to injuries. Manning’s major league starts have provided some teachable moments. After a night of analyzing pitching execution with Fetter, Manning put in some extra mound work.
Manning’s next start will come against the Baltimore Orioles and he will step on the mound with a 2-5 record and 6.33 ERA this season.
“I’m sure that spilled out into some more work on the field. So work is never a problem for Matt,” Hinch said, “He’s very hungry to get to the next start. The next opportunity to get this one in his rearview mirror.”
Mia Berry is a sports reporting intern with the Free Press. Reach out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.