Francisco Lindor Out Indefinitely After Ankle Injury Diagnosed as Sprain

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2019

Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor waits to take batting practice during a baseball team workout, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, in Cleveland. The Indians will play the Houston Astros Friday in Game 1 of the AL Division Series. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
David Dermer/Associated Press

Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor is out indefinitely with an acute ankle sprain. The team announced the news Wednesday:

Cleveland Indians @Indians

Hanley Ramirez has been informed that he will make the team's 25-man #OpeningDay roster. Additionally, Francisco Lindor sustained an acute ankle sprain while base-running during a minor league game yesterday. Francisco received an MRI and his timeframe is TBD. https://t.co/j5sbQIB3g6

Injuries have been a concern, with Lindor also missing time early in spring training with a right calf strain. 

Lindor has emerged as one of the best players in baseball. He hit .277 in 2018 while setting career-highs in homers (38), RBI (92), runs (129), stolen bases (25) and OPS (.871). He had a WAR of 7.9, per Baseball-Reference, while playing in his third All-Star Game and winning his second Silver Slugger at shortstop.

He was also a Gold Glove winner in 2016.

Few players offer both Lindor's pop at the plate and his defensive prowess at a position of demand like shortstop. For that reason, he was ranked as the fourth-best player in baseball entering the 2019 season, per MLB Network:

MLB Network @MLBNetwork

The Final 20! #Top100RightNow https://t.co/2oCP1vEt5f

It also makes him uniquely difficult to replace. While he's out of action, Max Moroff will step into the shortstop role, though he doesn't offer the upside that Lindor brings to the table. 

Cleveland's offense will absolutely miss Lindor's blend of speed and power, and if he's forced to miss a significant chunk of time, the team may need to make a move on the trade market. The hope in Cleveland will be that Lindor can be back at 100 percent before long.