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White Sox 2, Indians 1: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Kipnis, Chisenhall and an umbrella

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 28, 2014

Fourteen final thoughts after a rainy evening Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

1. With Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher placed on the disabled list, I expected Indians manager Terry Francona to change his mind about playing second baseman Jason Kipnis, who rejoined the team in Chicago Tuesday. But Francona said he wasn’t tempted and will wait to activate him today. The All-Star has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 2 with a strained right oblique.

2. “No, because we always said we’ll do what’s right for the player, regardless of our needs,” Francona said. Kipnis said he would take batting practice outside, lift weights and work out on his first day back.

3. Infielder Justin Sellers will probably be the player sent down to Triple-A to make room for Kipnis.

4. Left-handed hitting Kipnis got a break by not having to face White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, who came into the game having retired 23 consecutive left-handed hitters. When the game was halted by rain for 1:58 minutes in the top of the fourth, which ended the night for Sale, that streak had increased to 27. Sale gave up no hits and walked one.

5. Asked if he was disappointed he wouldn’t be batting against Sale, Kipnis said, “Disappointed might not be the correct word. My wanting to face him vs. my want to play baseball again ... They didn’t give me a choice. I made it pretty clear I wanted to be back as soon as I could. So we’re just going to be a cheerleader for one more day.”

6. Francona is sticking to his guns, too, about not playing Kipnis 10 games in a row. “The good news is he’s ready to swing 100 percent, we just can’t run him into the ground,” Francona said. “But we have (Mike) Aviles.”

7. Kipnis wasn’t so sure the Indians needed to be overly cautious with him with an off day Thursday followed by a six-game homestand. “Hopefully we can start increasing the workload pretty fast,” Kipnis said.

8. The Indians seemed upbeat in the clubhouse despite the injuries to Santana and Swisher. The return of Kipnis should be a boost, even though he’s hit .234 with three homers and 12 RBI in 27 games. “I can’t ever think of a good time not to get Kip back,” Francona said. “He’s turned himself into one of the better players in the league. The way he approaches the game, I don’t care if it’s Sept. 30 or spring training, having Kip back is great.”

9. The Tribe is still juggling its rotation after Zach McAllister went on the disabled list last week, with T.J. House, summoned from Triple-A Columbus to help, scheduled to make his second start tonight. But Justin Masterson’s short stint, throwing 65 pitches in three innings Tuesday, might make him available a day earlier.

10. Jesus Aguilar was called up from Triple-A Columbus to be the primary first baseman with Swisher out, but Francona said before the game he’d likely use third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall there and he didn’t wait. He inserted Chisenhall as a pinch-hitter to bat for Aguilar when play resumed in the fourth inning and Chisenhall stayed in the game at first. Chisenhall has been taking ground balls at first of late and planned to again in pre-game Tuesday.

11. Chisenhall wasn’t in the clubhouse immediately after he committed his third error in the last three games at third base Monday. But Tuesday he did discuss his problem, which Francona said has come on virtually the same type of bad-hop grounder. Chisenhall has committed eight errors in 39 games.

12. “I watched some video on the footwork,” Chisenhall said. “After I made the error again yesterday I decided to take a few steps back, play a little bit deeper, that way that hop is maybe at my chest and I don’t get in between. I’ve been indecisive over there. My initial thought was ‘Break and go get the ball’ and I kind of hesitated. You can’t really do that at third. If you’re going to make errors, I’d prefer to make them on the aggressive side. That hasn’t been the case the past few times.”

13. Does Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo have good stuff as he says? The left-hander has been throwing to Chisenhall every day since spring training began so Chisenhall could see more left-handed pitching. “It’s really good,” Chisenhall said. “Effectively wild.”

14. One from the what-was-I-thinking category. I carried a coat to Baltimore figuring it would be cold once I got to Chicago. But I didn’t bring it to the ballpark Tuesday. After a high of 84, the temperature was 64 when play resumed in the fourth inning. Thankfully ex-Tribe beat writer Sheldon Ocker set me up with an extremely dependable cab driver who doesn’t mind rain delays. At least I remembered the umbrella.
 

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