CLEVELAND: Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis admits to being as big of a Derek Jeter fan as anyone.
And while the Yankees shortstop is in the final season of an illustrious 20-year career, Kipnis sees no reason to make the future hall of famer look any more fantastic than he already is.
So while many folks thought Jeter deked Kipnis on the basepaths in the eighth inning of Monday’s 5-3 loss, Kipnis dispelled the rumor Tuesday afternoon.
“There was no deke,” Kipnis said. “I’m as big a Derek Jeter fan as there is out there, but let’s not make up news.”
Kipnis went on to explain what got him caught up between the bases was an attempted steal when he misunderstood third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh.
“I heard Sarby yell ‘Go!’ ” Kipnis said. “So I took a step toward third. But then I heard the other half of his sentence, saying, ‘Go back!’ So I had to touch second base again and started going back. By then it was way too late.”
BACKING HIS MAN — If Indians manager Terry Francona does any more to help vote pitcher Corey Kluber into the July 15 All-Star Game, the quiet right-hander is going to have pay his skipper a hefty agent’s fee.
Monday, Francona joined his players in donning a white T-shirt with #VoteKluber written in red. Tuesday, he spent the day at his computer, voting repeatedly for the right-hander to become the final player voted to the American League All-Star squad.
“No lie,” Francona said, “I started [voting] at 10:30 a.m. I just quit a little bit ago. I voted my [butt] off.”
However, Francona and Indians fans need to keep up the effort. The first polling update Tuesday for the MLB.com’s Final Vote contest had Kluber (8-6 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 starts) in fourth place among the five candidates. The Chicago White Sox’s Chris Sale currently leads the voting, followed by Los Angeles Angels’ Garrett Richards and the Detroit Tigers’ Rick Porcello. Only the Houston Astros’ Dallas Keuchel trails Kluber in the fan voting.
“That Final Vote boils down to how big your organization is and how big your fan base is,” Nick Swisher said Monday. “So, for us, man, we want to get the word out there. We want to let everybody know that our man Klubot should be there.”
GETTING THE CALL — Roberto Perez was pleasantly surprised to learn he’d earned his first major league call up Tuesday when the Indians tabbed the rookie to be starter Yan Gomes’ backup. In 53 games for Columbus this season, the 25-year-old Perez hit .305 with eight home runs and 43 RBI and a .922 OPS.
“This got me by surprise,” Perez said. “I wasn’t expecting this. I felt like I was ready to come up earlier, but you can’t control those things. I’m excited to be here and start a new chapter in my career.”
The news was especially rewarding after Perez battled playing through a condition called Bell’s palsy last season that impaired his vision to the point that he managed to hit only .200 between Double-A and Triple-A.
“It was a long and slow process,” Perez said. “Although it was really disappointing last year, I’m glad to be here today.”
— Stephanie Storm