The Astros had a runner at first and one out in the seventh when Chris Johnson lined the ball down the third-base line. It appeared to strike Ramirez flush in the face as he dove to his right. He stayed down on the ground until assistant athletic trainer Ed Halbur came out with a towel to cover the third baseman's face and help Ramirez off the field.
"He was bleeding a lot," said Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, who was got to Ramirez first and tried to help him to his feet.
The team said Ramirez suffered a laceration on the inside of his upper lip. He was taken to a local hospital to get stitches.
"It doesn't look too bad -- better than being hit in the eye," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
The last thing the Cubs need is another injury. They already have six players who were on the Opening Day roster on the disabled list, including Marlon Byrd, who suffered multiple facial fractures after being hit near his left eye. Others on the DL include Jeff Baker (groin), Andrew Cashner (shoulder), Matt Garza (elbow), Reed Johnson (back) and Alfonso Soriano (quad).
Ramirez was batting .289 with two homers and 19 RBIs, and was not expected to be placed on the disabled list.
"It's one of those things -- DJ LeMahieu gets a shot now," Quade said of the infielder called up from Double-A Tennessee, who will likely start at third Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series in St. Louis.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less