CLEVELAND: Jason Kipnis was 0-for-11 with six strikeouts in the three games preceding tonight’s contest against the Astros.
“”He might be a little tired,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “”He skipped batting practice yesterday with my blessing.’’
Kipnis seemed to hit a wall in the second half of the 2012 season, but Francona doesn’t think it’s happening again.
“”I think that wall is going to be knocked down pretty soon,’’ the manager said.
Kipnis delivered an RBI single in the first inning Thursday night. Maybe that’s what Francona was talking about.
Justin Masterson (strained oblique) might return to the Tribe staff without even throwing a simulated game.
“”We want to see how his bullpen goes (Friday),’’ Francona said. “”He’s only been down for 16 days, and he logged a lot of innings before that. He’ll throw his bullpen, and we’ll go from there.’’
Asked if Masterson still felt twinges of pain, Francona said, “”If he is, he’s not telling us. With that kind of injury, you want to be pain free when you go out there.’’