CLEVELAND: The Indians are still making sure that Ryan Raburn is healthy.
He underwent an MRI scan Saturday morning that came up clean, but it was still uncertain if he could play for the first time since last Sunday.
“The MRI came back great,” manager Terry Francona said. “His calf is better, but his other heel is sore. Maybe that came from favoring the calf. If he feels good, then he’s fine. Otherwise, we’ll try to buy time through the off day [Monday].”
In other words, if Raburn is symptom-free he will be permitted to return to the field.
The offense has been spotty for a week or more, but Francona doesn’t attribute that to the loss of Raburn.
“It would be nice to have him around,” the manager said. “He’s a good hitter. But we only faced one left-hander since Sunday [Raburn bats from the right side], so I don’t think he would make everybody go into a slump.”
Extra benefits — In addition to being a part-time member of the lineup, Raburn sometimes functions as a pinch runner. However, Francona has alternatives.
“We can use a pitcher to pinch run,” he said. “Danny Salazar is a pretty good athlete, and Scott Kazmir likes to do it.”
Stopping the thief — The Indians have dropped to sixth in steals among American League teams with 91 but remain fourth with a 76 percent success rate.
However, Michael Bourn, who was expected to be the team’s No. 1 base stealer is second to Jason Kipnis.
Bourn has stolen 19 bases in 29 attempts (66 percent) to Kipnis’ 23 steals in 29 attempts (79 percent). A 70 percent success rate is considered satisfactory.
“Pitchers are doing a better job [holding runners] because it’s part of the game,” Francona said. “[Samuel] Deduno has given up one steal in two attempts all year. Runners were 16-for-16 against Joe Blanton, and he came out and did four slide steps in a row [last Tuesday in Anaheim].”
Deduno started for the Twins Friday night.
“If you can hold runners and don’t walk people,” Francona said, “you have to give up multiple hits to give up runs, so you’re going to be pretty good.”
Kluber progress report — Corey Kluber (sprained middle finger) will throw his first bullpen on Monday after playing long toss for at least two weeks.
“He’s doing really well,” Francona said. “The doctor looked at him and gave him the thumbs up.
There have been no projections about when Kluber might go on a rehab assignment, but time is running out for him to pitch in the Tribe farm system. Minor league schedules conclude in about a week.
That’s baseball — Nothing extraordinary about the slump that has limited the Tribe to an average of 3.7 runs in the past 14 games, even though the offense scored nine and seven runs in two of those contests.
“It’s just the ebb and flow of the game,” Francona said. “It would be nice to have nine guys hot at the same time, but that rarely happens.”
Farm facts — T.J. House gave up two runs and 10 hits in six innings, as Columbus lost to Gwinnett 4-3. Matt Carson hit his 14th homer of the year, singled and drove in three runs. … Nick Pasquale (6-7, 4.03 ERA) gave up one run and six hits in seven innings in Carolina’s 4-1 win over Lynchburg. … LeVon Washington tripled and doubled, as Lake County beat Dayton 8-5. … D.J. Brown gave up one run and five hits in five innings. … Cole Sulser gave up one run and three hits in five innings, as Mahoning Valley lost to Batavia 4-2.
— Sheldon Ocker