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Francona optimistic after Raburn's pregame

Indians utility man still out of lineup while nursing calf, heel soreness

ATLANTA -- Ryan Raburn has avoided the disabled list for another day, but the Indians utility man continues to be bothered by right calf and left heel soreness.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Braves, Raburn did some running drills in left field and took part in batting practice, but he remained out of the starting lineup for the 14th time in the past 17 games. Manager Terry Francona was optimistic that Raburn would make his return soon.

"He did well today," Francona said. "I'm thinking that he's probably available. We wanted it -- when we got him available -- we wanted to make sure that we could hit him and leave him in to play or run. I think we're there, but we'll watch him."

If Cleveland changed course, and opted to place Raburn on the 15-day disabled list, he would be eligible to be activated on Sept. 3. The Indians could backdate the stint on the shelf to the team's tilt against the A's on Aug. 18, when Raburn last appeared in a game for the Tribe.

Raburn said being placed on the disabled list remained a possibility.

"It's pretty close," Raburn said. "We're just trying to weigh the best options and the other thing is we don't want to put it at a point where I get reinjured and I'm hurt the rest of the year. We've got some big games coming up."

That said, Raburn hoped to feel improved enough to possibly start on Wednesday, when the Braves plan to send lefty Paul Maholm to the mound.

Entering Tuesday's action, Raburn ranked first in the Majors in home runs (15) among players with no more than 250 at-bats. Among those with no more than 300 at-bats, only Atlanta's Brian McCann (18 homers) and Evan Gattis (15) had at least as many long balls as Raburn did for the Indians.

Through 71 games, Raburn has hit .272 with 29 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs for Cleveland.

"From where it was when it first happened, it feels a lot better," said Raburn, who has been bothered by the calf issue for most of this season. "I don't want to keep this team on the edge, where they're still down another guy for six more days. As good as these guys play every day, they need a breather every once in a while.

"For me not to be able to give them a break, I think that upsets me more than anything."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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