Jason Kipnis feels good, hopes to join Indians on road trip

The two-time All-Star will play for Triple-A Columbus on Friday

James Rapien
April 04, 2019 - 4:22 pm
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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians have struggled at the plate so far this season, but help could be on the way. Jason Kipnis worked out at Progressive Field on Thursday afternoon. The two-time All-Star expects to start for Triple-A Columbus on Friday. 

"The body feels good," Kipnis said. "I think everything's trying to finally get into place. The muscles are where they need to be and I think we're just going to head to Columbus and start getting some games under our belt." 

The 31-year-old admitted he was frustrated with the injury, but was happy it happened when it did. Instead of missing a chunk of the regular season, the Indians' medical staff shut him down after he felt some tightness in his calf. That precaution gave Kipnis hope that he wouldn't be out long. He could join the team on their next road trip, assuming his minor-league stint goes well.

"It was nice that part of the time I missed was during spring training, it wasn't during the season, so it cut that down," Kipnis said. "Obviously I want to be out there playing with these guys and helping right now, but the time we did miss was beneficial for me and able to get my legs under me again – so hopefully we'll come out of the gate running."

The Indians could use him in the lineup. The three-man platoon of Brad Miller, Max Moroff and Eric Stamets are a combined 3-for-33. Say what you want about Kipnis, but he's a proven player who should help the Tribe both at the plate and on the field. 

"When he's a good player we're a different team," manager Terry Francona said. "He can hit up in the order and the game doesn't go too fast for him. Situationally, he's really good – we talked about whether it's first and second situations he can lay a bunt down. If he's comfortable off a guy, he can hit a ball in the gap – yeah, we miss that."

Kipnis posted a .230/.315/.389 slash line last season. Those numbers certainly won't wow anyone, but he brings experience to an infield that needs it. That's not a knock on Moroff, Miller or Stamets, but this team needs someone they can rely on at second base or shortstop. Starting the season without Francisco Lindor and Kipnis has been tough to overcome.

"You have a lot of guys that it might be their first time in a starting role," Kipnis said. " I want to give them a big hug through the TV and try to calm them down and relax. There's some good players here – whether their nervous or what, they just need to relax and go out and play. Once that shows through, you'll start to see the true talent of some of these guys."

Kipnis will play second base on Friday for the Columbus Clippers. The veteran expects to spend a week there, before joining the Indians on their next road trip. 

Other Notes:

Carlos Gonzalez will play in Columbus tonight. He's been training in Goodyear, Arizona. The 33-year-old hopes to play his way onto the Indians' big league roster. 

Outfielder Bradley Zimmer continues to progress following an abdominal strain. He hasn't resumed baseball activity. 

Reliever Tyler Clippard threw his first bullpen yesterday. He's expected to miss the next few weeks as he continues to work his way back from a pectoral strain. 

The Indians start a four game series against Toronto on Thursday night. Hanley Ramirez isn't in the lineup. Francona is giving the veteran a day off. Check out the entire lineup below: