August 29, 2014

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Indians Notes: Jason Giambi set to leave disabled list Monday

Jason Giambi

Jason Giambi

CLEVELAND — The Indians considered activating Jason Giambi from the disabled list Sunday, but have decided on Monday instead.

“We’re just trying to keep our bullpen and our team in order,” manager Terry Francona said. “If we shoot for Monday, that’ll make things a little bit easier, as far as moving forward with our team. He gets it. He just wants to help.”

Giambi, 43, took batting practice prior to Friday’s series opener with Toronto. He played in three minor league rehab games for Double-A Akron, going 0-for-8 with two walks and four strikeouts.

“I felt great,” Giambi said. “I just wish we would have had warmer weather. I’m excited to be back and be part of the club and do my part, not only on the field, but off.”

The Indians will have to make a move to clear a roster spot for Giambi and will most likely send down a reliever. Blake Wood and C.C. Lee have minor league options.

Cleveland is making the move despite Giambi batting just .183 in 71 games last year. He did produce nine home runs and 31 RBIs.

“G can change the game in the batter’s box,” Francona said. “He’s not here to hit .300. If he did, that would be great, but he’s here to change the game with one of his swings, and he has the ability to do that.”

Francona said the Indians have missed Giambi, who hasn’t played since fracturing a rib during a spring training game.

“Guys know he’s there, shoot, I know he’s there,” Francona said. “G’s never going to back down from anybody. That doesn’t mean you have to fight. It’s a nice teammate to have around. He can be a settling influence. He can kick somebody in the pants. It’s a great guy to have around.”

Swisher’s scuffles
Despite altering his spring training approach, first baseman Nick Swisher is off to another slow start, entering Friday batting just .164 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 15 games. He rode an 0-for-12 skid through Thursday before getting two hits Friday.

Francona was asked if he thought Swisher was pressing to live up to the four-year, $56 million contract he signed prior to last season.

“I think last year he might have tried to live up to that a little bit,” Francona said. “I just think Swish wants so bad for us to be good. He wants to win. I’ve never seen Swish on a personal bad day not be excited when we win. I mean that about as complimentary as you can say it.”

Fine with me
MLB’s expanded replay system is expected to eliminate the art of the argument between managers and umpires, and that’s all right with Francona.

“You say the art of argument, I mean, you go out there three or four times a year and make an idiot of yourself,” said Francona, who has been ejected 36 times in his career, twice during his debut season with the Indians last year. “They never change the call, so I’m not sure what the art is.”

Minor details
Right-hander Josh Tomlin made his third start for Triple-A Columbus on Friday. He went 0-1, allowing six runs on 10 hits and seven walks over 12 innings in his first two outings.

** Vinnie Pestano had made three scoreless appearances for the Clippers through Thursday, allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out four over three innings.

** Clint Frazier, Cleveland’s first-round draft choice (fifth overall) last year, made his season debut Thursday, going 1-for-5 with an RBI single in Class A Lake County’s 6-3 win over Burlington. Frazier missed the start of the year with a hamstring injury.

Roundin’ third
The Indians committed 15 errors in their first 15 games.

** Cleveland’s bullpen stranded all but one of 21 inherited runners through Thursday. The 95 percent rate was tops in the majors.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.

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