CLEVELAND — Manager Terry Francona provided some insight Friday on how the Indians plan on handling injured first baseman Nick Swisher (left knee) and third baseman Carlos Santana (concussion).
Santana, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Tuesday, has been resting, but was at Progressive Field for the series opener with Colorado on Friday. Francona said Santana would watch three innings of the game, then return home.
“It’s step-by-step-by-step, actually quite a few of them,” Francona said of the recovery timetable for Santana, who is batting just .159 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 50 games. “As long as he tolerates everything, we’ll keep increasing that.”
Swisher, who has had issues with both his knees this season, joined Santana on the injured list Tuesday and has been limited to workouts in the water. Francona said the first baseman would begin land-based activities Monday.
“They want to get him symptom-free, and I think he’s getting towards that,” Francona said of Swisher, who is hitting .211 with three homers and 19 RBIs — team-leading 49 strikeouts in 185 at-bats — through 49 games.
Injured right-hander Zach McAllister (lower-back strain) threw a simulated game — two, 30-pitch innings — at Progressive Field prior to Friday’s game.
“He tolerated it well and he threw the ball actually pretty well,” Francona said.
Francona said McAllister (3-4, 5.89 ERA) would begin a minor league rehab assignment next week, but wouldn’t say whether one outing would be enough to prepare him for a return to the rotation.
Cautious with Kip
All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis was in the lineup for the series opener against Colorado, but Francona said he would not play today.
Kipnis, who was activated from the DL on Wednesday after missing close to a month with a right oblique strain, is expected to play every other day as he works his way back into shape. He entered Friday batting .224 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 28 games.
Indians left fielder Michael Brantley doesn’t possess the strongest arm, but it’s more than accurate enough. Brantley, who is traditionally among the leaders in the category, entered Friday tops in the majors with six outfield assists.
“I think sometimes the way guys throw can be overrated,” Franconca said. “Some guys have big arms, but if they miss the cut-off man … it’s flashy and you may see it on SportsCenter, but there’s a lot of extra bases that get taken in the meantime. Brantley is so consistent.
“It’s not just his arm, it’s his footwork, it’s the ball coming off the wall, his timing. He’s so accurate with his throws. It’s kind of uncanny. He’s eliminated a lot of rallies with his defense.”
Former Cleveland right fielder Drew Stubbs is flourishing in his first year since being traded to Colorado for left-handed reliever Josh Outman. Stubbs, who hit .233 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs in 146 games as the Indians’ primary right fielder last year, entered Friday batting .330 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 50 games for the Rockies.
“He’s doing a good job,” Francona said. “He was a pretty popular teammate over here, not just in the clubhouse but in the coach’s room. We all liked him.”
Double-A Akron’s Tyler Naquin, Cleveland’s first-round draft pick (15th overall) in 2012, recorded a career-high four hits Thursday in the RubberDucks’ 16-4 win at Bowie. Naquin was batting .296 with two homers, 19 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 50 games through Thursday.
(bullet) Minor league player of the week (May 5-11), RHP Adam Plutko, won his first start since being promoted from Class A Lake County, allowing four runs on seven hits over six innings Thursday in High Class A Carolina’s 6-4 win over Wilmington. Plutko, an 11th-round draft pick last year, went 3-1 with a 3.93 ERA in 10 starts for Lake County.
- The Indians entered Friday with the American League’s best home record (15-11), but with just a 9-19 mark on the road.
- Cleveland is 14-1 when scoring at least four runs, and 2-10 when scoring three runs or fewer.
- Today, 3:05, STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM. Bauer (1-2, 3.86) vs. Morales (3-4, 5.65).