DETROIT: For the past 11 games, Asdrubal Cabrera has batted third in the lineup and Jason Kipnis second. Until then, their positions in the batting order had been reversed.
“I think Cabrera said early that he’s more comfortable hitting third,” manager Terry Francona said. “I was a little stubborn about it, because I didn’t want left-handers hitting back to back [leadoff batter Michael Bourn and Kipnis].”
So far, the change has benefited both players. Since the switch, Kipnis is batting .279 with one triple, four home runs and 11 RBI. Cabrera is batting .250 with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBI.
TRIBUTE — After missing a year because of an injury, former Tribe catcher Victor Martinez is back in the Detroit Tigers’ lineup.
Martinez always has had a sterling reputation as an impact player in the clubhouse, and Francona is one of his fans, a consequence of Francona managing Martinez in Boston.
“Victor became a leader in about two hours, and that was in the middle of a pennant race,” Franocna said. “That’s a hard thing to do unless you’re legit.”
EASING HIM IN — Bourn, who came off the disabled list Friday night, won’t be asked to shoulder a full work load immediately.
“I don’t have his exact schedule,” Francona said. “We’ll remember that he has only played two games [on a rehab assignment]. This is something that we’ll have to keep an eye on.”
FARM FACTS — Tim Fedroff homered and doubled, amassing four hits and three RBI, as Columbus outlasted Charlotte 12-8 in Class AAA. Cord Phelps hit two homers and a single, driving in four runs, and Ryan Rohlinger homered and had two RBI. … Cody Anderson (4-1, 2.93 ERA) gave up one run and six hits in six innings, as Carolina beat Salem 2-1 in the first game of a doubleheader. Jerrud Sabourin had two hits and two RBI in Carolina’s 4-1 second-game win in Class A. … Jeremy Lucas had three hits in Lake County’s 5-0 win over South Bend in Class A.
— Sheldon Ocker