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Bourn slated to sit against Royals left-handers

MLB.com @MLBastian

KANSAS CITY -- The return of Nick Swisher from the disabled list on Tuesday forced Indians manager Terry Francona to rethink his starting lineup. One of the changes in the opener of a three-game series against the Royals was moving center fielder Michael Bourn to the bench.

Francona indicated that Bourn would sit on both Tuesday and Wednesday due to facing Kansas City left-handers Jason Vargas and Danny Duffy, respectively. The skipper hinted that Bourn might remain on the bench against left-handed starters in the coming weeks.

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KANSAS CITY -- The return of Nick Swisher from the disabled list on Tuesday forced Indians manager Terry Francona to rethink his starting lineup. One of the changes in the opener of a three-game series against the Royals was moving center fielder Michael Bourn to the bench.

Francona indicated that Bourn would sit on both Tuesday and Wednesday due to facing Kansas City left-handers Jason Vargas and Danny Duffy, respectively. The skipper hinted that Bourn might remain on the bench against left-handed starters in the coming weeks.

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"I talked to Bourny today a little bit about it," Francona said prior to Tuesday's game. "And this is just in the near future, because we really want Bourny to be our center fielder, but it's been a struggle for him against lefties."

Bourn was batting just .189 (.556 OPS) through 37 at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season. Last year, the center fielder turned in a .224 average and .569 OPS against lefties in 143 at-bats. That trend convinced Francona to go with an outfielder consisting of left fielder Ryan Raburn (1.217 OPS against lefties this year), center fielder Michael Brantley (.956) and right fielder Brandon Moss (.919) on Tuesday.

The addition of Swisher (a switch-hitter) adds another righty bat to the mix for Cleveland, which entered Tuesday ranked 11th in the American League with a .703 OPS against left-handed pitching. Francona also moved Carlos Santana from the cleanup spot to the two-hole and slotted Raburn in as the cleanup hitter.

"We have another right-hand hitter, and Brantley feels like he can [handle center] physically and he wants to," Francona said. "And, our bench looks better. Again, like I told Bourny, it's not like we gave up on him. I don't feel like that. I just think that we need to try to do everything in our power to win as many games as we can."

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

Cleveland Indians, Michael Bourn