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Kipnis expected to start Wednesday for Tribe

CHICAGO -- Indians All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis will join the team Tuesday in Chicago and will start Wednesday, manager Terry Francona said.

Kipnis, who has been on the disabled list with a strained right oblique since May 2, made a pair of rehab starts at Triple-A Columbus over the weekend. He played five innings on Friday, going 0-for-2 with an RBI groundout, and hit a home run on Saturday while playing seven innings. He'll play a full nine innings for Columbus on Monday night before flying to Chicago.

"He'll be here tomorrow and he'll start on Wednesday barring anything unforeseen," Francona said. "But he feels pretty good. He really wanted to play today, but he's kind of raring to go."

Oblique strains can be a tricky injury to manage because of how much baseball activities -- particularly swinging a bat -- can stress the muscle. It's a tender area that can be easily aggravated following a strain. The Indians took their time bringing Kipnis back, though, and don't think he'll have any issues moving forward.

"You know, I don't know if you can be careful," Francona said. "Yeah, we're not going to play him 10 in a row. We don't need to do that. That's not fair to him, but having him back will be a nice lift for us.

"He brings, even when he's got three games under his belt, you know other teams have to respect who he is and what he can do, so that'll be a nice guy to have back."

Joe Popely is an associate reporter for
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