Beware the roaming Buffalo: Tigers are first stop on Wilson Ramos' revenge tour
Cleveland — You had to know the minute Wilson Ramos was signed to a minor-league deal by the Indians, he would soon be crossing paths with the Tigers.
The Tigers rather unceremoniously released Ramos, their Opening Day catcher, off the injured list June 20.
“I saw him in the parking lot last night,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “He let me know he knew all of our hitters and probably knows my signs. I am sure there is some extra motivation for him to do a little damage tonight.”
Ramos, whose contract was purchased by the Indians on Friday, started behind the plate Saturday and homered in the ninth inning of Cleveland's 2-1 loss to Detroit.
“We’re going to have to control the Buffalo to get past these Indians tonight,” Hinch said.
The skipper was correct. Ramos collected three hits off his former team including a 431-foot home run in the ninth off Gregory Soto, the only Indians run in the Tigers 2-1 win.
"Baseball has a funny way of paying you back," Hinch said. You have a player and you go away from that player and sure enough, he's going to hunt you down and do damage against you."
Ramos at one point in April was leading the big leagues with six home runs for the Tigers. But he got injured and while he was out, Eric Haase and Jake Rogers seized control of the catching position for the Tigers.
“He had no ill will or ill feelings towards us,” Hinch said. “He was disappointed just because he got a little dinged up and ended up not having a job anymore. That was unfortunate for him but we made a decision that we felt was best for our two young catchers.
“It wasn’t personal. We all loved him and he gave us everything he could. It just didn’t work out.”
Ramos was hitting sixth in the Indians order Saturday.
“It was nice to see him,” Hinch said. “I am proud of him for fighting back through the minor leagues and getting back to the big leagues. And of course, just how baseball is, it leads him right back into a series against the team he started the season with.
“He’s a tremendous person and we were fortunate to have him around. But I won’t enjoy his at-bats tonight. He can do damage.”
Rogers mending slowly
After Ramos was released and another veteran in the system, Dustin Garneau, left the organization, Rogers ended up hurting his throwing arm and his been out since July 19.
Hinch said Saturday that Rogers won’t be back until September.
“He’s not quite ready to throw yet,” Hinch said. “We won’t see him in the month of August. September at the earliest. We just hope there are no setbacks at this point. If we do anything that causes a setback between now and September, then we’re talking about missing the rest of the year.
“So we’re trying to be super cautious with his step by step progress.”
Haase and Grayson Greiner will continue to handle the catching duties for the Tigers.
Sorting it out
Matt Manning apparently didn’t get much sleep Friday night after his rocky 10-hit, 6-run outing against the Indians.
“He was pretty hot after the game,” Hinch said. “He was disappointed in how it went. He watched the game back at the hotel on his iPad or phone or whatever and he was texting (pitching coach Chris) Fetter throughout the night and into the morning going over some observations.”
When he got to the park on Saturday, Manning and Fetter went through the game again, pitch by pitch, and then went out to the bullpen and worked on some mechanical adjustments.
“Work is never a problem for Matty,” Hinch said. “He’s very hungry to get to his next start an put this one in his rear-view.”
Hinch said the Tigers’ top catching prospect Dillon Dingler will be out of action for at least two weeks after breaking the top of a finger on his left hand in a game on Friday.
“He got crossed up on a sign,” Hinch said. “Broke the tip of his finger, a little fracture. There’s nothing overly serious other than it’s taking him out of play for now. He will get re-scanned in a couple of weeks. But the expectation is that he will get some more baseball in – that’s good news.
“But I think we need to work on our signs in the minor leagues (laughs).”
Praise for Team USA
Hinch opened his pre-game Zoom conference Saturday by congratulating Team USA for winning the baseball silver medal in Tokyo. Hinch was a member of Team USA for six seasons and won a bronze medal in the 1996 games in Atlanta.
“The Olympics are very special to me,” Hinch said. “In the early morning hours when Team USA brought a silver medal home -- albeit disappointing they didn’t win the gold, I’m sure – but a hat-tip to Paul Seiler (executive director) and the USA baseball people for a job well-done.”
Tigers assistant hitting coach Mike Hessman was part of the 2008 USA baseball team that won a bronze medal in China.
TIGERS AT INDIANS
First pitch: 1:10, Progressive Field, Cleveland
TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit/97.1
►RHP Wily Peralta (3-2, 3.47), Tigers: He had a 1.64 ERA through his first seven appearances for the Tigers, but the last three starts have been rough.
►RHP Zach Plesac (6-4, 4.64), Indians: His first two starts of the season were against Detroit; he allowed two runs total, winning one and losing one.
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