White uses entire arsenal in bullpen session
Prospect's next step could be to throw simulated game Monday
CLEVELAND -- Alex White's return could be on the horizon. The rookie pitcher tapped into his entire pitching arsenal in a bullpen session on Friday. How he feels Saturday could determine the timetable for the conclusion of his recovery.
White tossed his full repertoire of pitches, including his splitter and slider. It was the first time since the right-hander sprained his right middle finger during a start on May 20 that he used his offspeed pitches.
"If he comes in tomorrow and says he feels good, we'll move to the next step, which will be a simulated game on Monday," Tribe skipper Manny Acta said.
To this point, White has yet to encounter any setbacks. He said he expects to return within the next few weeks.
"It feels really good," White said. "I haven't really had any trouble yet or any setbacks."
In three starts for Cleveland spanning 15 innings, White posted a 1-0 record and a 3.60 ERA, striking out 13 and walking nine. He's the organization's No. 2-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.
Kipnis turns in fine play in Major League debut
CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis feared the worst when Triple-A Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh summoned him into his office on Thursday.
"I was like, 'OK, am I in trouble or something? What did I do now?'" Kipnis said.
Sarbaugh wasn't punishing the 24-year-old second baseman. Instead, he was informing Kipnis that he would be trading in his Clippers navy for the red, white and blue of the Indians.
"It was definitely a nice surprise," Kipnis said. "I couldn't be happier to be here right now."
In his Major League debut, Kipnis went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch Friday as the Indians offered little offense against White Sox righty Gavin Floyd in a 3-0 loss.
Kipnis did, however, turn in a defensive gem in the sixth inning when he backhanded a ground ball near second base and fired a one-hopper across his chest to retire Mark Teahen.
"I really liked the play he made," said Tribe manager Manny Acta. "He showed some athleticism going to his right and fielding the ball."
The 27,477 in attendance marveled at the play, the same way Kipnis relished playing in front of a large crowd in a Major League ballpark.
"I caught myself looking around the stadium a lot," Kipnis said. "I was like, 'Wow, I can't believe I'm here right now.' But as the game progressed, I got more comfortable."
Kipnis wasn't expecting the promotion. It's not that he's not deserving -- Kipnis is the organization's No. 3-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com. But in his last 10 games at Columbus, the left-handed hitter was just .103 (4-for-39).
"I wasn't playing at the top of my game," Kipnis said. "I wasn't really hot at the plate. I wasn't really looking for [the callup], but it's a nice surprise."
Now, Kipnis finds himself in the middle of a pennant race, though Tribe skipper Manny Acta said Kipnis won't be allotted a predetermined amount of playing time as he shares second-base duties with Orlando Cabrera.
"I'm going to play him as I see fit," Acta said. "Him and Orlando, it's not a straight platoon or anything."
In 91 games at Columbus, Kipnis hit .279 with 12 homers and 55 RBIs. His performance signaled to the Indians brass that, although he isn't finished with his development, he can still help the club win.
"He's not a finished product," Acta said. "But we still feel that he can come in and help us win."
Brantley starts, Buck available to pinch-hit
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta has certainly tried his hand at juggling this season. As players shuffle in and out of the trainer's room, Acta has had to patch together a nightly lineup rarely consisting of the same hitters he used the previous game.
The latest balancing act surfaced Tuesday, when the club lost outfielder Michael Brantley to heat exhaustion shortly before the contest. His replacement, Travis Buck, exited after he was struck in the helmet with a pitch.
The poor fortune forced Acta to turn to Luis Valbuena -- an infielder by trade -- to man left field.
The chaos should simmer a bit for now, as both Brantley and Buck are healthy enough to play. Brantley's illness came during one of his best stretches of hitting this season. In 11 games entering Friday's contest with Chicago, Brantley hit .412 (21-for-51) with nine runs scored. Buck had posted a .324 average (11-for-34) in his previous 10 games.
Brantley sat out Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Twins, but he was penciled in to the No. 2 hole in Friday's lineup. Buck said he was available to pinch-hit.
"[Buck] was inside the whole day just trying to prepare for that," Acta said.
As the tightly contested American League Central race heats up during the dog days of summer, it wouldn't be surprising for the teams involved to grow tired of each other. The Indians will play 44 of their final 65 games (68 percent) against division foes, including 12 against the Tigers, who entered action Friday in first place with a half-game lead.
Designated hitter Travis Hafner played in his 1,000th career Major League game on Friday. He's appeared in 977 games with the Indians.
The Indians gave Fausto Carmona two additional days of rest before his next start, which will be Monday against the Angels. Carmona pitched the second game of this past Monday's doubleheader in Minnesota, his first start since returning from the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. Southpaw David Huff, who started the first game of the twin bill, will start on regular rest Saturday. The team's off-day Thursday allowed manager Manny Acta to reorganize the rotation.
Zack Meisel is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.