Choo benefiting from hot SantanaCLEVELAND -- Not so long ago, opposing pitchers had little to no reason to give Shin-Soo Choo anything to hit. Choo was moved up to the No. 2 spot of the Indians' lineup as a function of Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore going on the disabled list. Though Austin Kearns performed better than expected in the middle of the order, the fact is, when it comes to the kinds of threats who strike fear in the heart of the opposition, Choo was the beginning and end of the list. Now that prized prospect Carlos Santana is in the bigs and raking in the No. 3 spot (.333 average, four homers and 14 RBIs in 15 games), the situation is quite a bit different. And that could be one reason why Choo erupted for four homers, eight RBIs and a 1.273 OPS over his last six games. "It's all about getting people around him," manager Manny Acta said of Choo. Acta said he envisions moving Choo back to the No. 3 spot, where he belongs, and placing Santana in the No. 5 spot, behind Travis Hafner, at some point. For now, Choo, as a No. 2 hitter, wants to do whatever it takes to get on base to set up opportunities for the middle of the order. "My focus is on on-base percentage," he said. "The three guys behind me can get extra-base hits. If I go to first base, draw a walk, I have a good chance to score. I was really mad a few weeks ago, when I was like 6-for-40 and Kearns was really hot. I wasn't helping." With his recent power surge, Choo has helped himself and his team considerably.
Cabrera progressing in rehab
CLEVELAND -- Asdrubal Cabrera, working his way back from a fractured left forearm he suffered in mid-May, should begin taking ground balls by the end of this week, manager Manny Acta said.The Indians are not announcing an exact timetable for Cabrera to go out on a Minor League rehab assignment, but it will probably be after the All-Star break. It also won't be an exceptionally short assignment, as Acta told Cabrera on Monday. "I told him he needs to have enough at-bats to come up here and play at his caliber," Acta said. "He understands that." Acta didn't want to specify what that number of at-bats would be. All he'd say was that it won't be 15, and it won't be 100, either. "Somewhere between 15 and 100," he said with a laugh.
Shortstop Jason Donald remained out of the lineup for a third consecutive game after jamming his left wrist Friday in Cincinnati. Donald did some work in the field during batting practice, but he did not take any swings. "He's playable," manager Manny Acta said. "But we're trying to take care of the kid and make sure he's 100 percent before we throw him out there." ... Michael Brantley has hit and scored in each of his past six games at Triple-A Columbus. In 21 June games, Brantley is batting .352 (31-for-88) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 13 RBIs and 14 runs scored while walking 10 times against just eight strikeouts. "He's close," Acta said, meaning the Indians, as expected, will be promoting Brantley soon. ... The Indians announced the signing of two more Draft picks Monday. They signed outfielder Aaron Siliga, a 17th-round pick from Oceanside (Calif.) High School, and left-hander Kyle Petter, a 34th-round pick from El Camino College. The Indians have now signed 13 of their 50 Draft picks, in addition to eight non-drafted free agents. ... For more on the Tribe, visit the CastroTurf blog.