MINNEAPOLIS -- For the next few days, the Indians are operating without a utility man in the middle infield. But manager Manny Acta already has a contingency plan in mind, should something happen to shortstop Jason Donald or second baseman Jayson Nix."We have a guy who played shortstop for seven years in Cleveland," Acta said, referring to third baseman Jhonny Peralta. "He can move a few steps to his left." That's the short-term setup in the middle infield. In the long-term (and "long," in this case means just a few days from now), the Indians will have a decision to make. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to return on Friday from his Minor League rehab following surgery on his fractured right forearm. Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a home run on Monday while playing for Double-A Akron.
When he returns, the Tribe will have to decide what to do with Donald, who has been filling in for Cabrera."We're still in the evaluation process," Acta said. "We have three more games to go. We could go in two different directions." In one direction, Donald would supplant Nix as the regular at second base, with Nix becoming a utility man. In the other, Donald gets sent down to Triple-A Columbus to play every day and Nix, who has been a surprise success since the Indians claimed him off waivers last month, remains the regular at second. The Indians don't want to use the 25-year-old Donald, who has hit .272 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 48 games, as a utility player. "Donald needs to get the majority of the playing time wherever he is," Acta said. If Nix moves to a backup role, he could help out at second, third, short and even in the outfield, Acta said.
Kearns day to day with knee soreness
MINNEAPOLIS -- Indians right fielder Austin Kearns doesn't believe the right knee soreness that forced his early exit from Monday's 10-4 win over the Twins is anything serious."I'm just a little banged up," he said. Kearns said that he suffered the injury diving for a ball in the outfield in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Tigers. He went on to record the game-winning hit in the extra-inning affair, and he also played Sunday. But he felt that the knee was progressing to his satisfaction as Monday wore on. "We've got to take care of it before anything else happens," he said. Manager Manny Acta said Kearns is day to day. It appears reasonable to suspect that Kearns will be out of Tuesday's lineup. Kearns went 0-for-2 in two trips to the plate before getting pulled in the fourth inning. Shelley Duncan replaced him in right field. In 79 games this season, Kearns is batting .267 with eight homers and 41 RBIs.
Todd returns for second stint with Tribe
CLEVELAND -- Suffice it to say, right-hander Jess Todd's first stint with the Indians last year didn't go so well. The details are grim -- a 7.40 ERA and a .356 average against."Last year, I was just trying to rear back and throw it was hard as I could," Todd said. Now that he's back in the big leagues -- officially promoted to the Indians' roster on Monday, when Jeanmar Gomez was sent back down to Triple-A Columbus -- Todd wants to prove he's a bit more refined. He's already had to tweak his mechanics this season, having struggled with his control early in the year. "My mechanics were off," he said. "I had never really walked anybody in my career, but I was walking a lot of people. I figured some things out. It makes it a lot easier when you're not giving out free passes." For the season with Columbus, Todd was 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA, 12 walks and 46 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings, spanning 34 appearances. He hadn't allowed a run in 15 of his previous 17 appearances before joining the Tribe.
Peralta relishes inside-the-park homer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Indians third baseman Jhonny Peralta had to watch the highlights of his improbable inside-the-park home run from Sunday's win over the Tigers. An event this rare was worth reliving."My favorite part," Peralta said with a smile, "was when I slide into home." Peralta, back on Sunday after missing three games with the flu, was tired when he reached the plate. "I wanted to lay there for a while," he said. Later in the game, the equally slow-footed Matt LaPorta tripled. Clearly, something was in the air Sunday. "It was a special day," Peralta said with another smile.
When Indians infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo make their expected returns to the lineup on Friday against the Rays, manager Manny Acta is planning to bat Cabrera in the No. 2 spot, Choo third and Carlos Santana at cleanup. There is no word yet on whether Michael Brantley will continue to lead off. ... The Indians entered Monday with a 4-0 record after the break for the first time since 1995. They were looking to go 5-0 after the break for the first time in club history.