After Kipnis landed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 2, there was uncertainty over whether his shoulder injury -- one he has fought at various points throughout this season -- might lead to surgery after the season ended. Kipnis said his rehab program over the past couple of weeks was designed in such away to strengthen the areas in and around his throwing shoulder.
The goal of his program was to decrease the potential need for surgery. As Kipnis gradually increased his throwing program, building up to long toss and then mixing in game-like scenarios, he became more confident that he and the team's training staff made the right choice by placing him on the DL.
"The shoulder is feeling good," Kipnis said. "We've definitely gone about it the right way, giving it the rest at first, strengthening everything around it, whether that be the [rotator] cuff, the labrum, everything about it, the bicep, all around it, to help the throwing motion. We've stretched it out slowly. ... All signs are great right now. I'm pain free. It feels great. I'm excited to get back out there."
Kipnis was not in the lineup for Tuesday's game, but Indians manager Terry Francona said he would likely be given the nod to play second base for Wednesday's series finale in Boston. Cleveland initially wanted to ease Kipnis in as a designated hitter, but outfielder Michael Brantley (left shoulder) is currently being used as a DH. To clear a roster spot for Kipnis, the Indians placed Chris Johnson (left hand infection) on the 15-day DL.
"Most likely, he'll play tomorrow, but we'll see," Francona said of Kipnis. "We'll make sure he's OK throwing, but I think he's on a good course."
Kipnis praised the recent play of Jose Ramirez, who has filled in at second base in his absence. Entering Tuesday, Ramirez had hit .250 with four extra-base hits, eight runs scored and a .729 OPS in 13 games since Kipnis landed on the DL while also playing strong defense (two Defensive Runs Saved and a 23.2 UZR/150 at second base).
"He's been great," Kipnis said. "People try to ask me, 'Is there a competition thing? Is he coming for your spot?' If he wants to, let's do this. But, I'm on his side. We're trying to win games, and he's looking like a player who can help us win games now. I'm happy about that."