CLEVELAND: At least Asdrubal Cabrera was back in the Indians’ lineup Tuesday night, if not at shortstop, his usual defensive position.
Manager Manny Acta’s original lineup had Shelley Duncan at designated hitter, but after watching Cabrera work out, Acta changed the lineup and moved Cabrera to the DH spot.
Cabrera missed three games with a tight hamstring, but there was excessive uproar about his absence, because in a two-day span, the Tribe lost the middle of its lineup — Travis Hafner, Carlos Santana and Cabrera — to injury. And on Monday, Jack Hannahan went on the disabled list with a strained calf.
Consequently, Cabrera’s return was cause for celebration in the manager’s office.
“I watched him go through the whole workout,” Acta said. “He was pain free and he ran the bases. Asdrubal was very adamant that he has no issues. My expectation is that he’ll play shortstop tomorrow.”
Cabrera said there’s no question that he will be back in the field for today’s wrap-up game with the Royals.
“I think I could have played short tonight,” he said. “Tomorrow I’m going to be out there for sure.”
Asked what he will do between at-bats as the DH, Cabrera smiled and said, “I have to go and ask Hafner.”
Acta had at least a little concern that Cabrera might try to talk his way back onto the field even if he was not symptom free.
“I wanted to make sure he wasn’t trying to play the hero in May,” the manager said. “The running part of the workout took care of that for me. But I opted for the safe thing, to have him DH tonight.”
If Cabrera does play shortstop this afternoon, it’s likely that a move will be made to return the bullpen to full strength.
When Cabrera went down, the Tribe called up Juan Diaz from Akron to play short. Even though Acta would be missing a backup middle infielder, Diaz probably would return to Double-A and a reliever would be summoned from Columbus. The likely candidates are Frank Herrmann and Hector Ambriz.
“As soon as we’re covered, we’ll make a move to add a reliever,” Acta said. “If Asdrubal comes back to play short, or if Hafner goes on the DL, we’ll make a move to strengthen the bullpen.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.