Kipnis at peace with starting season on DL

Kipnis at peace with starting season on DL

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As Jason Kipnis prepared to head outside for a workout on Friday, the Indians' clubhouse was a hive of activity. Teammates were cleaning out their lockers and stuffing gear into equipment bags. Staffers were rolling away carts loaded with boxes.

"I'm ignoring it," Kipnis said. "I'm trying to go numb to seeing all these boxes and everyone leaving. I'm just kind of staying in my bubble and focusing on what I need to do to get back."

A right shoulder injury cost Kipnis time this spring, and he will begin this season on the 10-day disabled list. That was a frustrating turn of events for the second baseman, but he is in full agreement with how Cleveland's medical staff handled his situation.

If everything goes according to plan, Kipnis hopes to be activated in mid-to-late April.

"The big picture was taken into affect here," Kipnis said. "I'd much rather be missing April games than October games. I know the team agrees with me on that one. I'd love to be back right now and coming out the gates with these guys, but circumstances say that it'll take a little longer for me to get going."

Kipnis has advanced to playing catch from a distance of more than 100 feet in his throwing program, and he has resumed hitting overhand tosses in the batting cage.

"He's starting to get antsy, which is good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I think he's actually doing really well. When he starts to get antsy and wanting to get going, that's a good sign. Now, we've got to do it right, though. So, we will."

While Kipnis is sidelined, third baseman Jose Ramirez will take over at second. That scenario opened the door for rookie Yandy Diaz to win the Opening Day job at third base this spring. Heading into Friday's Cactus League finale against the D-backs, Diaz was batting .444 with a 1.204 OPS through 45 at-bats this preseason.

"He's earned the callup. I'm excited to see how he performs," Kipnis said. "He's definitely created some buzz about himself with the bat with the spring that he's had. He looks like a professional hitter. That's exactly what you want to see. I hear he's been putting in a lot of work defensively, and that's what we're going to need out of him for him to stay."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.