CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta was worrying about finding a way to beat the Twins while Cleveland's front office was debating which young star to select in the first round of Monday's First-Year Player Draft.
The Indians ultimately settled on highly-touted high school shortstop Francisco Lindor with the eighth overall pick in the Draft. One day later, Acta had time to digest the selection and voice his approval.
"You can't help but to be interested in the guys that are joining the organization," Acta said. "I've heard a lot of good stuff about Lindor. Friends of mine that are in the industry told me that this kid has the chance to be the best position player out of the Draft.
"High risk, high reward. He's the youngest player ever taken out of high school, but they like his talent -- the people that have seen him."
Lindor, who will turn 18 in November, hit .528 (28-for-53) this season for Montverde (Fla.) Academy with six home runs, seven doubles and two triples. Lindor -- a slick-fielding shortstop projected to have a future at the same position in the Majors -- compiled 13 RBIs, stole 20 bases in 21 chances and scored 32 runs.
In a few late Draft projections, Lindor was predicted to go as high as the No. 2 overall pick.
"Our guys are very happy that he was there for us to grab," Acta said. "Also, we have to consider, too, that behind [Asdrubal] Cabrera over the last couple of years, we need some depth up the middle. Up the middle being shortstop."
Versatile infielder Phelps promoted from Triple-A
CLEVELAND -- Infield prospect Cord Phelps is joining the Indians.
Cleveland promoted Phelps from Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday morning, optioning outfielder Shelley Duncan to Columbus and moving right-hander Alex White to the 60-day disabled list in order to add Phelps to the active and 40-man rosters.
Phelps, 24, hit .299 (63-for-211) with seven home runs, 15 doubles, two triples, 31 runs scored and 40 RBIs in 55 games for Columbus. The switch-hitting Phelps has played in 28 games at shortstop, 13 at second base, 13 as a designated hitter and one at third base.
A third-round pick by the Indians in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Phelps has spent the bulk of his time at shortstop to allow highly-touted prospects Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall to man second and third base, respectively, on a regular basis. Cleveland's immediate plans for using Phelps remain unclear.
The Tribe's regular infield rotation has included veteran second baseman Orlando Cabrera and slick-fielding third baseman Jack Hannahan. Both have struggled of late. Dating back to May 4, Cabrera has hit .192 over 29 games and Hannahan has hit .167 over 25 games.
On the bench, the Indians have veteran Adam Everett, who can man multiple positions but has hit .245 in 28 games.
Santana making progress with new mechanics
CLEVELAND -- One week is hardly enough time to feel comfortable with a mechanical change at the plate. That is especially true in the case of Indians catcher Carlos Santana, who is trying to break free from a technique he used for five years.
Over the past week, Santana has rid himself of the toe tap that he used to do right before the leg kick that initiates his swing. Now, the catcher goes right into the kick, eliminating excess movement and making his swing a little bit quicker.
"I know it's going to be a process," Santana said on Tuesday. "I'm getting more comfortable with it and I'm not thinking about it up there. I'm only thinking see the ball, hit the ball. It'll get better with every game."
Entering Tuesday's game against the Twins, Santana had hit .292 (7-for-24) with three doubles, two RBIs and five walks in his first seven games without the toe-tap timing mechanism. Throughout that same stretch, the catcher posted a .400 on-base percentage and a .417 slugging.
It is undoubtedly a small sample size, but it is also a sign of progress.
Overall this season, Santana was hitting .224 with six home runs, 10 doubles and 24 RBIs through 54 games for the Indians. He also had a .357 on-base to go along with a .377 slugging. What those numbers do not show is that Santana has had a bad habit of pulling the ball too much this season.
Indians manager Manny Acta said the catcher is also working on that issue.
"That's how I've seen it," Acta said. "It has taken him time to make adjustments. He first came up and swung the bat really well. His on-base percentage is always going to be there, because he has such great eyes at the plate, but it's about making adjustments.
"It's about knowing that he's not going to be getting those cookies right there at 2-0 and they're not going to just be feeding him middle-in fastballs, and being able to use the whole field. It's taken him time to do that.
"He's going to have to realize that and use the whole field in order to have the pitchers come in to him again. I think every hitter goes through that up here. He's going through it. I think he's good enough that eventually he'll hit his way out of it."
Hafner still days away from taking BP
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' offense is in dire need of an offensive boost. Cleveland can only hope that Travis Hafner will provide as much when he eventually makes his return from the disabled list.
Right now, though, Hafner is still a few days from resuming regular batting practice.
"Probably three days," Indians manager Manny Acta said prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins, "if everything continues to go the way it's going."
It was during a routine batting-practice session that Hafner injured his right oblique on May 18 in Chicago. The veteran designated hitter recenly resumed hitting baseballs off a tee and taking part in soft-toss sessions.
Acta indicated that Hafner will likely need a Minor League rehab assignment prior to officially rejoining Cleveland's lineup.
"I think he will have to because he's been out for too long," Acta said. "We're not talking about 15 days here. It's going to be three weeks [on Wednesday] and he's not even taking batting practice yet. So after three weeks, you take batting practice and it'll mount up to a month. He's going to have to go see some pitches somewhere."
In 32 games for the Tribe this season, Hafner was enjoying a career renaissance, hitting .345 with five homers, 22 RBIs and a .409 on-base percentage. Entering Tuesday, the Indians had hit just .227 as a team with 3.4 runs per game and a 7-12 record since Hafner went down.
The American League Central-leading Indians were 26-13 before Hafner injured his oblique.
"Yeah, but you can't use that as an excuse," Acta said. "Every team is dealing with injuries, but we know that we just don't have that depth here. That's what happened last year. We knew from the get-go that, in order for us to be competitive and to do what we were doing earlier, we needed every single one of these guys healthy and playing to their capabilities.
"We are aware of that, but we have to try to survive."
Pestano no longer having back issues
CLEVELAND -- Losing reliever Vinnie Pestano for an extended period of time would have been a major blow to the Indians and their bullpen. The club is counting its blessings after Pestano's recent back issue quickly faded.
"I'm feeling good," Pestano said on Tuesday. "Much better."
Pestano has not pitched since Wednesday in Toronto and was pulled from Saturday's game against the Rangers after he experienced tightness in his lower back while tossing his warmup pitches. By Monday, Pestano was available out of the bullpen again for manager Manny Acta, who decided to give him one more precautionary day off.
"He's ready to go today, for sure," Acta said on Tuesday.
That is great news for the Tribe, which has used the right-handed rookie as one of its setup men this season. Through 23 appearances for Cleveland, Pestano has gone 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA, piling up 27 strikeouts against eight walks over 21 innings. Opposing hitters have only a .153 average against him.
"We were pretty relieved just to find out the first day that it was just back spasms," Acta said. "Those things can come and go pretty quick. The way he's thrown the ball, he's very important for our bullpen."
Minor League left-hander Giovanni Soto has been named the Indians' Minor League Player of the Week for the period of May 29-June 4. Over that span, the 20-year-old Soto logged six shutout innings for Class A Kinston in a 1-0 win over Wilmington on Tuesday. Soto scattered two hits, issued two walks and struck out a season-high 10 batters. Soto was acquired from the Tigers in the July 28, 2010, trade that sent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to Detroit.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Double-A Akron outfielder Tim Fedroff was named the Eastern League Player of the Month for May. Fedroff, 24, hit .412 (42-for-102) with eight doubles, two triples, four stolen bases, 10 walks, 18 runs and 20 RBIs in 26 games last month. For May, Fedroff led the league in average, on-base percentage (.465) and hits (42). His .994 OPS ranked fourth overall in the Eastern League for the month.
The Indians released Triple-A first baseman Wed Hodges on Tuesday, clearing room on Triple-A Columbus' roster for veteran first baseman Nick Johnson. Hodges hit .219 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 32 games for the Clippers this season. Johnson, who was signed to a Minor League contract by the Tribe in Spring Training, is returning from multiple surgeries on his right wrist. Johnson was in Cleveland on Monday so the team could get a close look at him in the batting cage and on the field.