Spring Training Notes 3/13: Jose Ramirez likely to stay at third base

Even with the second base job still up in the air, Jose Ramirez will likely stay put at the hot corner and open the 2B competition to candidates like Erik Gonzalez, Michael Martinez and Ronny Rodriguez.

Jose Ramirez showed his versatility by bouncing between left field, third base, second base and shortstop in 2016.

A more solidified defensive role is in store for the 24-year-old in 2017.

In light of Jason Kipnis' strained right rotator cuff, the opening day spot at the second base position is up for grabs. Although Ramirez figured to be a capable replacement with 227 MiLB games at 2B under his belt, he will likely stay where he is at the hot corner.

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- A three-way battle seems to be the approach Terry Francona is taking to find a replacement for Kipnis, the team's everyday second baseman who was shut down for two weeks on Sunday.

"We have two and a half weeks to kind of consider options," said Francona. "Some of it might be dependent on how long we think Kip's going to miss. If he's going to miss three or four days or a week - I'm not sure you go out and get a player. So we'll be thinking of those things and we already are. I guess the best thing we can do is get a good look at everybody at our camp."

Erik Gonzalez, Michael Martinez and Ronny Rodriguez headline the 2B discussion and figure to get plenty of opportunities moving forward this spring. 

- Giovanny Urshela and Yandy Diaz will continue to patiently await their chance at third base behind Ramirez. Although Ramirez primarily played up the middle in the minors, he is slated to retain his 2016 MLB position to open the 2017 season.

"He certainly could," Francona said about Ramirez returning to second base. "We moved him around so much last year and he did do a good job. That's something we're going to talk about. I think our first choice is not to - but we'll see."

Because Ramirez batted .355 with runners in scoring position and became an integral part of the major league roster, Urshela (SS) and Diaz (LF, CF, RF, 2B) shifted around at Triple-A Columbus to better suit themselves for a big league opportunity.

- After landing awkwardly and spraining his right ankle on Sunday, Nellie Rodriguez will sit out the majority of this week at camp.

"He's probably going to miss maybe up towards a week," said Francona. "We're in the midst now of Santana not here, Colabello not here and Nellie was getting a lot of playing time."

Richie Shaffer and Bobby Bradley will get reps at the position over the next few games until one of the aforementioned players returns from the World Baseball Classic.

- The anticipated return for Diaz (right groin strain) is the next two to four days. He has been doing agility drills and a simulated game to test the sore area and could return to Cactus League action by the weekend.

- Michael Brantley played in another simulated game against Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw earlier today. No injuries or setbacks have occurred throughout Brantley's hitting progression and rehabilitation.

- A second opinion on Cody Anderson's strained UCL is scheduled for later this week with Dr. Keith Meister. 

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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