Kipnis itching to return from disabled list

Tribe second baseman could begin rehab stint Sunday

Kipnis itching to return from disabled list

PHOENIX -- After spending seven weeks in Arizona for Spring Training, it was a little strange for the Indians to return to the desert for their second series of the season. The unusual scheduling worked out just fine for Jason Kipnis.

"I'm bored out of my mind," Kipnis quipped on Friday.

Prior to Friday's game against the D-backs, Kipnis joined his teammates at Chase Field, where the sidelined second baseman went through a workout. Kipnis, who is on the 10-day disabled list due to a right shoulder issue, took batting practice on the field and went through a series of game scenarios to simulate throws to each base.

Kipnis said his shoulder feels "100-percent now" and he is scheduled to begin his Minor League rehab assignment soon. Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Kipnis would depart Arizona on Saturday and serve as the designated hitter for Double-A Akron on Sunday. If all goes well, Kipnis would play second for Akron on Monday before taking a scheduled day off.

"He needs some at-bats," Francona said. "And he's coming back from rehabbing his shoulder, so we don't want to rush [him]. I don't think at-bats wise it's probably going to take him a lot, but we've probably got to get him out there where he plays back-to-back games defensively. I don't think that's going to take forever."

Kipnis' injury update

While Kipnis is set to join Double-A Akron, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (also on the 10-day DL with a right shoulder issue) was due to begin his Minor League rehab as a DH for Triple-A Columbus on Friday night. The Indians are hopeful that Chisenhall will be ready to be activated in time for Tuesday's home opener.

Kipnis' comeback is expected to take a little longer.

"We'll try to get as many at-bats util we can get our timing," Kipnis said. "I think we'll see how the first five or six games go, or something, whatever it may take. If I look good after five games, I'm sure I'll be yelling at them to let me up."

When they return, Cleveland might have some tough roster decisions to make. Outfielder Abraham Almonte made the Opening Day roster in light of Chisenhall's injury, and third baseman Yandy Diaz made the team with Kipnis out. Both Almonte and Diaz have played well out of the gates for the Tribe.

"If things stay like they are," Francona said, "somebody's going to get sent down that doesn't deserve it. That's probably a good problem to have for the organization. It'll be a tough conversation."

Kipnis, who has been rehabbing in Arizona, kept a close eye on the Indians during their season-opening sweep fo the Rangers in Texas. He has been impressed by what he has seen, especially given that two of the wins were come-from-behind victories.

"They look good right now," Kipnis said. "To have that kind of fight already in the first series, it's fun to watch and exactly what you want in the team."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for 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.