Tribe Notes: Updates on Kipnis and Kluber, plus Francona talks Ortiz and Brennaman

The Indians' manager had kind things to say about David Ortiz and Marty Brennaman

James Rapien
June 11, 2019 - 5:56 pm
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CLEVELAND, Ohio – It looked like the Indians' injury woes were going to continue when second baseman Jason Kipnis left Sunday's game with hip tightness. 

The 32-year-old wasn't in Tuesday's lineup, which was another sign that things could be worse than initially expected. That doesn't appear to be the case and Kipnis could be a pinch-hitter on Tusday night. 

"He's fine," manager Terry Francona said. "When I thought about night game, day game, he was probably going to play one, so let him workout today and maybe be available later in the game, but he'll play tomorrow."

Kipnis has a .218 batting average with two home runs and 15 RBI this season. Mike Freeman will start at second base on Tuesday against the Reds. 

Kluber Update – Corey Kluber will be re-evaluated on Thursday, six weeks since he suffered a broken ulna bone in his right forearm. The two-time Cy Young Award Winner expects to pitch again this season. 

Thursday's tests could give the Indians an idea of when he could return to baseball activities. Kluber, 33, has a 5.80 ERA in seven starts this season. 

Tito Praises Ortiz – Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz was shot in the Dominican Republic on Sunday night. He's underwent two surgeries and has taken his first steps. Ortiz was a big reason why Francona won two World Series championships during his eight years in Boston. The Indians manager had nothing but praise for him on Tuesday. 

“Extremely endearing,” Francona said of Ortiz. “He could light up a room and put a room at ease with is smile. “But I also got to see a side of him, how he prepared to hit, and how dangerous he was at the plate and what a leader he was.

“We had our times where it was not easy. We fought through it and got to a better place. That happens in this game. He’s a very special person, not just to me, to a lot of people.”

The entire baseball community has rallied around "Big Papi" over the past few days. Francona had the same doctor Ortiz has and believes he's in good hands. 

"He's in a great place with people that obviously care about him, but also are extremely good at what they do."

Ortiz was transferred to Boston Hospital on Monday. 

Marty's in Cleveland – Francona praised Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, who's been the voice of the Reds since 1974. Brennaman is retiring at the end of the season. 

"He and Nuxy (Joe Nuxhall) together, to me that's baseball," Francona said. "You could listen to the radio and you didn't need a T.V. The big left-hander rounding third, headed for home. They played off each other, they were just so good for each other and I got to be there for that. It's hard to have one without the other."

Francona played for the Reds in 1987. Brennaman, known for his humor, reached out to Tito during his first World Series run. 

"If I played you the messages he left for me. I can remember in '04, we're going to the World Series in '04 and Tony LaRussa's the manager and I've never been past fifth place with the Phillies. And he left me a message that I played for the whole bus. Every other word was a curse word and it was 'don't screw it up' and it was so funny and he's done it so many times that I think only Marty could get away with that.

"I'd put it on the speaker and the guys would be dying. I mean it's hilarious. I'm obviously very fond of him."

The Indians hope to win the Ohio Cup. They play the first two games of the series this week. The two teams will play again in Cincinnati on July 6-7.