NEW YORK -- The Indians could have used Edwin Encarnacion's bat late in Sunday's 1-0 loss to the Yankees, but manager Terry Francona knew ahead of time that he was operating one man short. For Game 4 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan on Monday night, Cleveland is hoping to have its slugger available as a pinch-hitter.
"If you see him strolling up to the plate, he's available," Francona quipped.
Following the Tribe's loss in Game 3, a pair of crutches were propped against the locker belonging to Encarnacion, who sprained his right ankle in the first inning of Game 2 on Friday. Placing Encarnacion on the disabled list now would render the designated hitter and first baseman ineligible for the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World, should Cleveland advance to the next round.
Francona said the Indians believe Encarnacion could be available for the ALCS.
"Or we wouldn't be doing this," Francona said. "It's not perfect, but I think that we're making the right decision, though. Because to not have Edwin, it hurt us [in Game 3], so to just write him off, if we could move on, that would be tough to do."
With Encarnacion out of the starting lineup for the past two games, Francona slotted Michael Brantley into the DH role. Brantley, who is also returning from a right ankle injury that kept him sidelined for most of August and September, went 0-for-7 combined with a walk as Encarnacion's replacement in Games 2 and 3.
"It's pretty obvious that he's not like midseason locked in," Francona said. "I still think he competes and he's intelligent. I'd bet you he'll find a way to help us win, whether he lays a bunt down or fires one into left or fights one off. There's a lot of belief in him, and I know it's not easy. He hasn't played very much."
• Through the first three games of this ALDS, Jose Ramirez went a combined 2-for-13 at the plate. Said Francona: "He's gotten in a little bit of a habit where he's closed off and he's coming out of his legs a little bit. The one thing, one, he's fought like heck in his at-bats, and he ended up getting that base hit [in the ninth inning in Game 3]. And we've all seen, when he gets hot, he gets hotter than anybody."
• Outfielder Brandon Guyer is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz., where Dr. Don Sheridan will perform a procedure to repair the extensor tendon in his left wrist. According to the Indians, Guyer's timeline for recovery will be determined following the operation.
• Right-hander Adam Plutko underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip on Monday and is expected to return to full baseball activity within four to six months. Dr. Bill Robertson performed the surgery in Dallas.
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 Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.