Sheldon Ocker

CLEVELAND: In the midst of his at-bat in the fifth inning, Jason Kipnis called time and stepped out of the batter’s box.

Hitters do that all the time, but this was different. Kipnis couldn’t see. Or at least, the vision in his right eye was impaired. Why?

“I didn’t know what it was,” he said. “Something was in my eye, and I couldn’t get it out. I thought it was just a normal eyelash getting caught in there, but that wasn’t it.”

Kipnis tried to pluck out whatever was stuck to his eye, and that’s when the problem became more severe.

“I didn’t touch it before that,” he said. “Then I felt something and started picking at it, and it got worse.”

So it was time for head trainer Lonnie Soloff to step in. Soloff has gone to school for years to learn the medical arts; he also stays abreast of the latest in technology and methodology of his craft. If modern science had an answer, Soloff would know about it.

“I told Lonnie that when I lifted the corner of my eyelid, it felt better, that there was less irritation,” Kipnis said.

Soloff promptly took out a roll of tape from his pocket, cut off a two-inch piece and attached the bottom end to the corner of Kipnis’ eyelid, then pulled the other end up and pressed it against his temple. And it worked, at least well enough for the at-bat to continue.

Not that Kipnis’ vision was 100 percent. Could he actually see the pitch?

“No, I definitely was taking on 3-and-0,” Kipnis said. “I opened my stance to make sure my back eye could see the ball.”

Fortunately for Kipnis, Luis Mendoza threw ball four, which bought Kipnis time for the eye to recover. He went on to deliver singles in the seventh and ninth innings.

Sheldon Ocker can be reached at socker@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.