Happy returns: Indians’ Ramírez hits slam in 1st AB

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CHICAGO (AP)Cleveland Indians star Jose Ramirez hit a grand slam in his first plate appearance after missing a month with a broken hand.

Ramirez lofted a 3-1 pitch Tuesday night from White Sox right-hander Carson Fulmer into the right field stands with two outs in the first inning to give the Indians a 4-0 lead. Roberto Perez added a solo shot off Hector Santiago in the second to make it 5-0 as Cleveland pushes for an AL wild card.

Ramirez was activated from the 10-day injured list prior to the game. Ramirez, who turned 27 last week, broke a bone in his right hand Aug. 24 against Kansas City. He had surgery two days later.

”I’m not 100 percent on my wrist, but still I feel a big improvement and I’m ready to play,” Ramirez said through a translator before the opener of the three-game series in Chicago.

The two-time All-Star hit .254 with 20 homers and 75 RBIs in his first 126 games this season. He was on a tear before getting hurt, hitting .320 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs in 46 games in July and August.

”The idea is that he can hopefully play a lot,” manager Terry Francona said. ”Pitchers have to respect who he is.

”It’s one less position we have to pick and choose or kind of platoon or whatever we’ve been doing in a couple of positions.”

Cleveland was a half-game back of Tampa Bay for the second wild card entering Tuesday.

The Indians have been hit hard by injuries all year. Second baseman Jason Kipnis underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday, also for a fractured hamate bone in his right hand.

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