August 28, 2014

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Tribe notes: Nick Swisher almost ready, but Michael Bourn, Brett Myers need more time

CLEVELAND — Indians first baseman Nick Swisher is on his way back, but outfielder Michael Bourn and pitcher Brett Myers still have a ways to go before returning to action.

Swisher missed his third straight game Friday because of a strained left shoulder, but is expected to be in the lineup this afternoon when the Tribe hosts Minnesota in the middle game of their three-game set.

The 32-year-old slugger, who is in a 4-of-28 slump (.143), has not played since being hurt Monday in Kansas City. Swisher did take batting practice before the series opener against the Twins.

“Instead of putting a Band-Aid on this thing, I told Swish that we should take another day and try to completely erase it,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He didn’t put up a big fuss, so I think he agrees that it’s the right way to handle it.”

Swisher is hitting .265 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 23 games, while Bourn is at .333 with two solo homers in 10 games. Both players are in their first season with the Indians.

Bourn (right index finger laceration) has been eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list since Tuesday, but is still likely a week away from being placed on the active roster. The two-time
All-Star joined Swisher in taking BP, which Francona termed “the next step for Michael.”

“Going into live BP is big because it puts much more torque on his finger, which is something he’s going to have to deal with before he comes back,” Francona said. “If he doesn’t have any problems after a day or two, then we’ll get him out on a rehab assignment for a couple of games.”

Bourn was injured April 14 when he was spiked by White Sox pitcher Matt Thornton while diving into first base.

Myers has been on the DL since April 21 with right elbow tendinitis and a mild UCL sprain. Both injuries occurred in his last start April 19 at Houston, which he lost 3-2.

Francona said Myers participated in some soft toss earlier in the day, making 30-35 throws from 60 feet without any visible pain. The veteran right-hander is expected to make at least one rehab start in the minor leagues before resuming his role in the Indians’ starting rotation.

Myers is 0-3 with a 8.02 ERA in four appearances, but isn’t in imminent danger of being sent to the bullpen after signing a one-year, $7 million contract in January.

Welcome back

Cleveland claimed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off waivers Tuesday after being designated for assignment by the Phillies. He batted just .077 in 13 games with Philadelphia, which claimed him April 2 after being designated for assignment by the Indians.

“When we didn’t have room for him at the end of camp, we knew there was a good possibility we’d lose him,” Francona said. “That all happened, so when we got a chance to bring him back, we did.

“Ezequiel gives us a major league level player who knows our team, was developed by the Indians, can play all three outfield positions and is a left-handed bat. Those are all assets for us.”

The 25-year-old speedster spent the last two seasons with the Indians, playing in 116 games with a .255 average. Carrera took the roster spot of starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, who was optioned back to Triple-A Columbus after earning a 6-0 win Wednesday over the Phillies.

Nasty numbers

The Indians rank dead last in attendance at just 14,513 fans per game. Seattle (18,752), Kansas City (18,789), and Miami (18,865) are the only other franchises averaging fewer than 19,000. Cleveland is also the third-worst road draw in the sport at 21,935.

Before Friday, the only time the Indians drew more than 20,000 was the home opener on April 8, a sellout crowd of 41,567 against the Yankees.

Extra innings

Indians radio announcer Tom Hamilton is not broadcasting the Twins series following the Wednesday death of his father, Francis “Frank” Hamilton. The funeral service is Saturday in Sun Prairie, Wisc.

Jim Rosenhaus was joined by former Tribe manager Mike Hargrove in the booth Friday, while ex-Indians pitcher Jason Stanford fills in today and Sunday.

• The first 10,000 fans today receive a T-shirt with the Indians’ 1974-1977 alternate logo. A free faith concert by Sanctus Real follows the game.

• The Tribe is 10-2 when it scores first in a game, 6-7 against right-handed starting pitchers and 7-9 against teams outside of the AL Central.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.