CLEVELAND — The Hanley Ramirez era is over in Cleveland.
The 12-year veteran was designated for assignment Saturday to clear room for All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who was activated from the injured list prior to the first game of a doubleheader at Progressive Field against the Braves.
Ramirez’s brief tenure as the Indians’ designated hitter ended after 16 games in which the three-time All-Star batted .184 (10-for-69, 17 strikeouts) with two home runs and eight RBIs. His RBI total was second on the team to Carlos Santana’s 11 through Friday.
Lindor, who’s been sidelined by a left ankle sprain, was in the lineup at shortstop to make his season debut in the second game of the doubleheader. But he’s expected to DH on occasion as he is eased back into everyday action.
“When we activated Frankie, it was with the idea that we would DH him sometimes,” manager Terry Francona said. “So saying that, it just kind of put us in a little bit of a hole, where if we didn’t have another infielder and if Frankie’s going to do some DH-ing ... so we talked to Hanley (Friday), and he was about as professional as you could be.
“I wanted to make sure that people understood, this was a baseball decision. Hanley was a model citizen for us. I know he wants to keep playing, and I hope he does, because he handled himself so well.”
Francona said Lindor would start at short for the series finale against the Braves on Sunday night, but that he wouldn’t be a fixture in the lineup from the start.
“I think the biggest thing is common sense,” Francona said. “It’s not like he can’t play three out of four (games), four out of five. We’ll pick a spot and DH him at times. It’s not just for his ankle, but it’s his whole body. We want him to be able to help us but we don’t want to run him into the ground, so we’ll try to use common sense.”
“There’s a program, there’s a proper protocol we’ve got to follow,” Lindor said. “Ultimately, I don’t make the lineup. So if Tito wants me there as many games as I can, I’ll be there. Hopefully I can play however many games we got, what, 140, 135 games left? I’m going to try to play all those games.”
This was the first time in his career that Lindor missed significant time with an injury.
“It’s a privilege to be healthy. It’s a blessing and I ain’t takin’ it for granted, man,” Lindor said. “I used to take health for granted, but not no more. For every person that’s hurt, it’s some tough times.”
Santana entered Saturday batting .714 (5-for-7) with an on-base percentage of .833 (five walks), two doubles and seven RBIs with runners in scoring position and two outs.
He was hitting .545 (12-for-22) with runners on base through Friday, accounting for the second-highest average in the majors behind the Cubs’ Daniel Descalso (.588).
Veteran right-hander Josh Tomlin is back in Cleveland as a member of the Braves bullpen.
Tomlin, who spent his entire eight-year career with the Indians before leaving in free agency at the end of last season, was released by Milwaukee at the end of spring training. He signed with Atlanta and has allowed a run on three hits (no home runs) over five appearances covering 6 2/3 innings.
Minutes before first pitch in Game 1, the Indians played a video tribute to Tomlin on the scoreboard and showed him watching from the visiting bullpen.
He retired the side in order in the eighth, striking out Jake Bauers for the final out.
Tomlin was a clubhouse leader during his time in Cleveland and was respected for pitching above his ability.
“We still talk all the time,” former rotation mate Corey Kluber said. “It’s funny how people you’ve been around, you don’t see them for a while, but then you see them and it’s not really like there was any time apart.
“Whether it was Josh or other people who have been here for a while, the culture that we’ve built in that clubhouse I think they’re a big part of it. Being a professional, putting the team over yourself. I think that he’s a big part of what we built over here.”
Right-handers Dan Otero (six innings) and Nick Wittgrenn (four innings) had not allowed an earned run through the first game Saturday, making the Indians one of five teams in the majors with multiple relievers who have appeared in at least four games without allowing an earned run.
... Former Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell, an Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary graduate, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 1.