CLEVELAND -- Terry Francona provided a positive progress report on injured second baseman Jason Kipnis (right hamstring strain) Sunday, but the Indians manager is still unable to predict when Kipnis will return from the disabled list.
“He really is feeling good,” Francona said of Kipnis, who has been sidelined since Aug. 23 after missing nearly a month with the same injury earlier. “The trainers have a progression he needs to follow. The good side of that is he’s really starting to feel good, you can tell when a guy, one, he’s getting excited, two, he’s pushing them, so you can tell he’s feeling good.
“I just don’t know about the timetable. We’ll just kind of take it every day like we do.”
None of Cleveland’s minor-league affiliates qualified for the postseason, so there is nowhere to send Kipnis for a minor-league rehab assignment.
“We’re going to have to get a little creative, whether, you know, Andrew (Miller is) gonna throw a (simulated) game (today), so (he and injured outfielder Michael Brantley) can hit off of him,” Francona said. “Whether (Miller) throws another one or not is still to be determined. And then we can have someone like (Shawn) Morimando, or somebody that needs to pitch, we could have them face them ’cause there’s nothing else to do.”
When Kipnis returns, he isn’t expected to return to the lineup immediately.
“One, I’m glad he’s coming back, because he’s a really good player,” Francona said. “Two, he hasn’t played for a long time, so like we always do, I’ll sit down and talk to him and try to map out, not just the best thing for him, but the best thing for our team -- at least what we think it is.
“Because he’s not going to be able to even play nine innings right away. So we’ll sit down, we’ll talk through it just so everybody’s on the same page and do the best thing we can, like I said, for everybody?”
This is the third time Kipnis has been on the injured list this year. He missed the first two weeks with right shoulder inflammation and has played in only 79 games, batting .228 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs.
Back in there
Jose Ramirez returned to the lineup after a three-game absence with right wrist soreness.
Ramirez entered Sunday leading the American League in extra-base hits (78) and doubles (47), while ranking second in slugging percentage (.564), third in total bases (296), fourth in runs (93) and fifth with a .309 batting average.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor is on the verge of the 30-homer plateau, entering Sunday with a career-high 28 over 139 games.
“It’s cool,” Lindor said. “That’s what it’s all about, continuing to stay strong throughout the whole year and limit your downs and continue to play to win, do whatever it takes to help your team win.”
Through Saturday, the Indians had four players with 20 or more homers, Edwin Encarnacion (34), Lindor, Jose Ramirez (25) and Carlos Santana (23) -- five, if you count Jay Bruce, who has 33, with 29 of them coming as a member of the Mets.
The Indians continue the homestand tonight with a three-game series against Detroit that begins at 7:10.
RHP Carlos Carrasco (14-6, 3.53 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing RHP Myles Jaye (1-0, 0.00), while RHP Corey Kluber (15-4, 2.56) goes for the Indians on Tuesday (7:10 p.m.).
RHP Mike Clevinger (9-5, 3.30) starts for Cleveland in the series finale Wednesday (12:10 p.m.) against RHP Buck Farmer (4-2, 6.32).
The Indians entered Sunday owning the highest run differential (plus-206) in the majors and having allowed the second-fewest runs. ... Carlos Santana recorded his 585th career RBI Saturday, moving him past Omar Vizquel for the most in franchise history by a switch hitter. ... With 10 strikeouts Saturday, Indians pitchers extended their major league record for double-digit strikeout games to 80. ... Tonight, 7:10, STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM.