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Indians' Ramirez, Lindor deny they're home run hitters

By PAUL HOYNES • Updated Jun 15, 2018 at 2:19 PM

CHICAGO — Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor have the line down perfectly. They must rehearse it, like an infield shift or a hit and run.

One, two, three "we're not home run hitters,' they say.

They may not look like home run hitters, but they sure do keep hitting them. Lindor started Thursday's 5-2 win over the White Sox with a 412-foot homer into the left field bleachers on Carlos Rodon's third pitch of the game. Ramirez, with two out, Lindor on second and the score tied, 2-2, in the seventh inning, homered over the center field fence.

Ramirez already has 20 homers, Lindor 15. Last year they combined to hit 62 homers - 33 by Lindor, 29 by Ramirez. So the secret is out, but Ramirez and Lindor still haven't confessed.

They keep denying the fact that a lot of baseballs leave the park when they swing the bat. Well, they can say whatever they want, but the stats tell a different story.

Ramirez didn't hit his 20th homer last year until Aug. 28 against the Yankees on his 490th at-bat. On Thursday, he hit No. 20, a number that used to the measuring stick for the brothers of the long ball, on his 255th at-bat

Last year Lindor hit his 15th homer on July 22. It was a walk-off shot against the Blue Jays and came on his 381st at-bat. The Tribe's shortstop started Thursday's game with No. 15 on his 269th at-bat.

Ramirez is tied for third in the AL home-run race with Oakland's Khris Davis. Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez are tied for first with 23. Ramirez, at the moment, has hit more homers than Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

Asked about the importance of hitting 20 homers so early in the season, Ramirez, through team interpreter Will Clements, said, "I feel good about it, yes, but I'm just playing baseball. There's still a lot of baseball to play."

Ramirez's seventh-inning homer was his first since June 3, but he was not concerned that his power had deserted him. He's not a power hitter, after all.

"There's no reason for me to worry about that," said Ramirez. "I'm not a power hitter. I just try to take good swings. If the ball leaves the park, it leaves the park."

Lindor and Ramirez are switch-hitters. Lindor, 24, has hit four homers right-handed and 11 left-handed. Ramirez, 25, has hit 17 homers left handed and three right-handed.

This season Lindor has hit three leadoff homers to give him six for his career.

"That's one of the reasons I wanted to leadoff," said Lindor. "To get the team going. To do my best to score early and give the team the lead. Whether it's a home run, a base hit and I end up scoring, it's important. It tells the team, 'All right it's time to go. We have to win today.'"

Last year Ramirez was the AL's starting third baseman at the All-Star Game. When the first round of All-Star voting was released last week, Ramirez was once again leading the vote getter at third base.

"I feel really happy about it," he said. "First, I want to thank everyone who is helping me by giving me votes. I hope things keep going that way. I'd love to go to the All-Star Game."

As for anyone still surprised at the power being generated by the left side of the Indians' infield, Lindor said, "If they're surprised, I don't care. I'm going to do me. I'm going to continue to work as hard as I can to drive baseballs.

"I'm not a power hitter. I continue to say I'm not a power hitter. When I try to hit home runs, they don't go out and I slump. When I stick to my game plan, which is line drives, they go out. That's how I know I'm not a power hitter.

"Josie isn't a power hitter either. He always knew how to hit, but he became better and he's driving the ball."

Yeah, we've heard it all before.

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