With Edwin returning, Diaz meets with Tito

Encarnacion likely to be activated off disabled list mid-week

August 20th, 2018

BOSTON -- wanted to meet with Indians manager Terry Francona to discuss the writing on the wall. With closing in on a return from the disabled list, Diaz could once again be approaching a return to Triple-A Columbus.

Prior to Monday's game at Fenway Park, Francona said that Diaz met with him recently in Cleveland, utilizing shortstop as his interpreter to ensure nothing was lost in translation. The Indians' manager said he was impressed with the leadership skills shown in that meeting by Lindor and also proud of Diaz for wanting to sit down to talk through the situation.

"He just wanted to kind of know how he could stay," Francona said of Diaz. "I get it, but it gave me a chance to talk to him, which was good. And Frankie did such a good job of articulating things. It really ended up being fun. ... We hadn't even played the game that day and I was strutting around."

Encarnacion is currently on the 10-day DL due to a right hand issue, which first came up when he was hit by a pitch on July 15 against the Yankees. The veteran designated hitter did not go on the DL until after discomfort flared in his right biceps in a game against the White Sox on Aug. 10.

Over the weekend in Cleveland, Encarnacion advanced to hitting in the cage and progressed to regular batting practice on Monday in Boston. The 35-year-old slugger is eligible for activation on Tuesday, but Francona said that step will likely come later in the week.

"My guess is it'll be mid-week," Francona said. "I'd probably stay just with that right now. I think that's pretty obvious that it'll be coming up here pretty soon."

While Encarnacion has been shelved, the 27-year-old Diaz has filled in as the Indians' designated hitter. Diaz, who is also an option for first and third base, headed into the series with the Red Sox batting .419 with a 1.003 OPS through 10 games in the Majors this season. In 98 games with Triple-A Columbus, he has hit .293 with 27 extra-base hits, nearly as many walks (70) as strikeouts (75) and a .409 on-base percentage.

According to Francona, Diaz approached Lindor about meeting with the manager.

"He and Frankie came in together and it really impressed me," Francona said. "It impressed me that he cared enough to want to articulate how he was feeling. It impressed me that Frankie took the time and was thoughtful enough to [do that]. It meant a lot to me. It gave me a chance to say some things to Yandy through Frankie that I hope were meaningful, because sometimes young guys don't understand.

"They just see black and white: I'm either here or I'm not. So I hope it helped. He's a heck of a hitter for a younger guy and he's going to get better. And we're just trying to make him understand how important it is to play every aspect of the game. Hopefully, I think he's starting to get it more and more, because as he does, it's going to get exciting."

Worth noting

• Francona reiterated on Monday that there is no timetable for return for center fielder , who was released from Cleveland Clinic on Sunday following a bout with a serious bacterial infection. Francona said the medical and training staff will plot out a rehab program only when the timing is appropriate.

"I know he would love to [return this season]," Francona said. "I think out of respect to him, we're just trying to allow him to get healthy again. I mean, that's the best way to go about it. Nobody would ever slow him down. I mean, the medical people might have a progression, but we're just thrilled that he's OK."

(10-day DL, stress fracture in right fibula) resumed throwing from a standing position on Sunday, appearing to be ahead of schedule. Francona said the team does not want to slow Bauer down, but the pitcher will have his workouts closely monitored to make sure he's not doing too much too soon.

"There's no reason he can't. If he wants to throw 100 balls, I mean, he's been pitching all year," Francona said. "So he's not doing anything that's going to hurt himself. I think everybody is thrilled that he wants to. We've all seen, the more you seem to want something, you're certainly not going to go slower."