Kipnis day to day with right hamstring injury

Kipnis day to day with right hamstring injury

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kipnis was held out of the starting lineup on Friday due to a sore right hamstring, but Indians manager Terry Francona was optimistic that the second baseman would be able to return during the weekend series against the Twins.

Francona noted that Kipnis, who exited Thursday's game in Houston in the eighth inning with the injury, felt much improved by the time he arrived to Target Field on Friday in Minnesota. It is possible that Kipnis will be cleared to resume playing as early as Saturday.

"He showed up and actually exhibited pretty good strength," Francona said prior to Friday's game. "He's sore enough where we're not going to play him today. We would see about tomorrow, but I think we're more in that range, as opposed to four or five days. I think when you say 'day to day,' we really are legitimately day to day."

With Kipnis out of the lineup, veteran utility man Mike Aviles filled in as the Tribe's second baseman in the opener of the three-game weekend set against the Twins.

Kipnis was given a day off to rest his legs on Wednesday, but was given the go-ahead to play on Thursday after a chat with Francona. In hindsight, Cleveland's manager said he probably should have given the second baseman two full days off in a row.

"I might've messed up with it," Francona said. "Looking back, I guess maybe those are where I probably have a tug-of-war with myself [while deciding] what's right and what's wrong. When he came out of the game [Thursday night], man, he was like, 'I'm sorry.' I said, 'Don't ever say that. You're trying your [tail] off to play.'

"I think we're not only pleased, but probably somewhat relieved with how he felt today."

Through 125 games this season, which included a stint on the disabled list in May due to an oblique injury, Kipnis has hit .242 with six home runs, 41 RBIs and a .646 OPS. Last year, Kipnis made the American League All-Star team and went on to hit .284 with 17 homers, 84 RBIs and an .818 OPS in 149 games.

Quote to note
"There's a reason that he has ascended through the organization that quickly. He's kind of come as advertised. You'll see. I was telling him this the other day. You'll see his role expand next year. I think there's a way to kind of develop younger guys, especially guys who come up quick. You don't want to give them too much of a work load, but he's a keeper."
--Indians manager Terry Francona, on rookie lefty Kyle Crockett

Smoke signals
• The Indians will send their top prospect, shortstop Francisco Lindor, to the Arizona Fall League next month. The 19-year-old Lindor, who will suit up for Peoria in the AFL, hit a combined .276/.338/.389 with 11 homers, 16 doubles, four triples, 62 RBIs, 28 stolen bases and 75 runs in 126 games with Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season.

• After a three-year partnership with Class A Advanced Carolina, the Indians have agreed to a four-year player development contract with the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats for the 2015-18 seasons. Cleveland has had a presence in the Carolina League since 1987, beginning with Kinston (1987-2011).

• Indians reliever C.C. Lee left Thursday's game against the Astros in the 12th inning with discomfort in his side and back. Francona said on Friday the the issue was minor and indicated that Lee will likely be available out of the bullpen this weekend in Minnesota.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.