Alexei held out of starting lineup to clear head

Shortstop enters in eighth as pinch-hitter, doubles

Alexei held out of starting lineup to clear head

In fact, the durable White Sox shortstop played 156 games in 2010 and 158 in each of the last four seasons. But Ramirez was out of the starting lineup for Thursday afternoon's 8-7 win at Comerica Park, a move that manager Robin Ventura deemed as best for Ramirez and probably best for the team in the short term, with Gordon Beckham moving in at shortstop.

Ramirez entered as a pinch-hitter for Conor Gillaspie in the eighth inning and hit a ground-rule double, but was stranded at second. He stayed in the game and struck out in his second at-bat.

"Last few days, you see Alexei, it needs to be better," said Ventura before the opener of the four-game set. "Just giving him a day to not be out there, and we'll see what happens with that.

"For right now, today it's better for him not to play. He knows, he would like to be playing better, you would like his average to be better. We need him out there with a clear mind."

Ramirez entered Thursday's game hitting .220 with two homers, 26 RBIs and nine errors in the field. His on-base percentage sat at .241, and he had a .288 slugging percentage. This rough showing comes from a .273 career hitter who won the 2014 American League Silver Slugger Award and was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award at his position.

So what has happened to the 33-year-old veteran this season?

"[Ramirez] is an emotional guy. You know, when the average isn't going your way, sometimes that can pile up on you, and you feel like you are getting swallowed up," Ventura said. "Hopefully, we can clear his mind [Thursday] and have Gordon out there."

Ventura had a talk with Ramirez to make sure "he's all right and knows what's expected."

"That's the biggest thing. We had a talk, and he's good. He's going to be ready to go," Ventura said. "He's a very durable guy and wants to play every day. Even with his frame and his body, he could play every day.

"This is one of those where he's worn down. A lot of it, probably more mentally than anything else. And you can get tired and let that creep into your mental view. He's been tough over the last few years, being able to grind through it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.