Ramirez connects in first MLB start vs. KC

Ramirez connects in first MLB start vs. KC

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has been looking for an opportune game to give infielder Jose Ramirez his first Major League start. Ramirez's time arrived on Monday night and Francona smiled at the thought of getting a closer look at the club's No. 13 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Ramirez was in the lineup as the third baseman and was slotted into the eighth spot against the Royals.

"It'll be fun to watch," Francona said. "This isn't going to define his career, and he's not going to be an everyday third baseman, but I wouldn't be surprised if he does something to help spark us."

Ramirez, 20, was added to Cleveland's roster as part of a large group of September callups, but he was the only player summoned from Double-A Akron. The Indians thought highly enough of Ramirez to bring him to the big leagues without first testing him at Triple-A.

Francona said part of the reasoning stemmed from the first impression Ramirez made in Spring Training, when he was called over to big league camp for a handful of games.

"Because of the way he handled himself in Spring Training when he came over," Francona said, "and how he handled himself when he went back to the Minor League side when we sent him back over, and then the tools to be a utility guy in September, he probably fit the role better than anybody.

"And I think when you talk to all the player development guys, they thought he could handle it. You can probably take the safe route, maybe get a veteran. But, I think we all thought this kid can do it."

In 113 games at Akron this season, Ramirez posted a .272/.325/.624 slash line to go along with three home runs, 16 doubles, six triples and 38 RBIs. Along the way, he also collected 38 stolen bases, scored 78 runs and walked (39) nearly as often as he struck out (41). In the field, Ramirez bounced between second base, shortstop and third for the Aeros.

"I've been wanting to get him in a game," Francona said. "If you look at the numbers, it's a nice solid year."

Ramirez wasted little time in connecting for his first Major League hit, sending a pitch from Kansas City's Ervin Santana into left-center field for a leadoff single in the third inning. The Royals tossed the ball back to Cleveland's dugout, giving Ramirez a memento from his first start in The Show.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.