With Mike Aviles starting at third Sunday (righty against lefty), the Indians’ bench became a topic of discussion.
“I think our club can be really productive when we use everybody,” manager Terry Francona said.
Francona has managed three teams but hasn’t always had the talent and versatility on his bench to make regular use of the reserves.
“There have been some times when I’ve had a very usable bench and other times I’ve felt kind of handcuffed,” he said. “I feel very fortunate with the bench we have. When you can maximize your 25-man roster, that’s a real help.”
FOURTH BY DEFAULT — Why is Nick Swisher still batting in the cleanup spot? Since May 26, he has hit two home runs and accumulated 12 RBI in 38 games.
“I’ve given that a ton of thought,” Francona said. “We’ve thought about hitting him second, but I don’t want to move [Jason] Kipnis, and [Michael] Brantley has done such a good job of bouncing around. But it’s a little different, you’re in that cleanup spot. If I’m going to put someone in that position, it should be Swisher [a more veteran player].
“So we’ve talked about Swisher batting second, but I don’t like the way the lineup shapes up that way.’’
Kipnis and Brantley might be affected by such a move, because Asdrubal Cabrera, who currently bats second, would have to take someone’s spot in the lineup.
Swisher is playing with an injured shoulder that requires some maintenance.
“I don’t think the shoulder will be 100 percent all year,” Francona said. “It’s something he has to deal with. But he feels pretty good right now.”
AILING SKIPPER — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was fighting stomach illness for the second day in row.
Saturday night, Gardenhire left the dugout during the game and watched on television from his office. He tried to stay on the bench with his players today, but in the fifth inning he had to retreat to the clubhouse again.
FARM FACTS — Matt Carson had three hits, including his 11th home run of the season to win the game, as Columbus beat Lehigh Valley 1-0 in 13 innings. … Bryson Myles hit his seventh homer of the year and doubled, driving in four runs, in Carolina’s 8-7 loss to Winston-Salem. … Ryan Merritt (6-9, 3.56 ERA) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings, as Lake County beat Quad Cities 5-3. … Dorssys Paulino homered and singled, and Richard Stock hit a two-run homer in Lake County’s 5-3 win over Quad Cities. Logan Vick had three hits, including a double. Joe Sever had an RBI.