CLEVELAND -- While rehabbing his right hamstring strain, Jason Kipnis has been shagging fly balls in center field during Indians batting practice. Kipnis may get a chance to play the new position in a game on Sunday against the Royals at Progressive Field.Prior to Friday night's game, Indians manager Terry
CLEVELAND -- While rehabbing his right hamstring strain, Jason Kipnis has been shagging fly balls in center field during Indians batting practice. Kipnis may get a chance to play the new position in a game on Sunday against the Royals at Progressive Field.
Prior to Friday night's game, Indians manager Terry Francona said the hope is for Kipnis to be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Sunday morning to make his first career appearance in center field.
"I think the medical people still need to sign off on him playing Sunday," Francona said, "but I think everything points towards that. He's done everything in his power. He's answered everything they've thrown at him, he has done really well. So I'll bet you that you'll see him Sunday."
Francona plans on getting the two-time All-Star plenty of reps in center when Kipnis returns to action with the Indians, beginning with five innings on Sunday.
"He's going to play a lot of games [in center]," Francona said. "He's going to play five innings on Sunday, off Monday, and then some of it is going to depend on how he feels. They're going to kind of guide us at least through the first week because it's still, you know, we need their help so we don't overextend somebody that hasn't played very much."
Kipnis, who has played second base throughout his six-year career, along with occasionally serving as a designated hitter -- has not played the outfield since 2009 with Class A Mahoning Valley. The need for Kipnis in center came after rookie Bradley Zimmer broke his hand while sliding into first base on Sunday. Additionally, Francona realizes the club has a good thing going in the infield with shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jose Ramirez up the middle.
In 79 games between a couple stints on the DL this season, Kipnis is hitting .228/.285/.409 with 11 homers, 22 doubles, 30 RBIs and 38 runs scored.
Chisenhall's calf to be examined
Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall left Thursday's game after the fourth inning with tightness in his right calf. Although the club announced that he was removed from the game for precautionary reasons, Francona said Chisenhall will undergo tests.
"He came in [Friday] not feeling any worse, which is really good," Francona said. "So we're going to let him get examined by the doctor, and I think we're all hoping that this is day to day as opposed to more."
• Francona said relief ace Andrew Miller, who was activated from the DL on Thursday (right knee patellar tendinitis), will not pitch again until Sunday. Miller pitched a scoreless inning in the Indians' 3-2 walk-off victory in 10 innings over the Royals on Thursday night.
• Francona also said All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley is "frustrated" with limited progress in his rehab from a right ankle sprain. The Indians are looking to get a second opinion on Brantley's ankle.
• Zimmer returned to the club on Friday and spent some time in the clubhouse. Francona said Zimmer was tired of sitting at home while the Indians extended their winning streak.
"He just wants to sit in the dugout because he's going to lose his mind at home," Francona said. "The fact that he wants to be around is really good, and I think that's healthy for him to be around."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.