CLEVELAND -- Shin-Soo Choo knew if he came out of the game, he'd be sidelined for the foreseeable future. But after he trotted out to right field in the fifth inning Saturday, he knew he had no choice.

Choo tweaked his strained left oblique muscle during his second at-bat in the third inning of an 8-7 win against the Royals. At first, he pleaded with Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff to allow him to stay in the game. When he made his way to the outfield in the ensuing frame, however, he felt pain with each step he took.

"Every step of my foot, it hurt," Choo said. "Everybody in the dugout saw my body language. Lonnie wanted me to come out of the game. I said, 'Lonnie, give me a couple innings.' If I come out of the game, I know I'm not coming back for a couple days. Then, after an inning of defense, I came back in the dugout and came out of the game."

Choo first suffered the injury during an eighth-inning at-bat in the nightcap of Tuesday's twin bill. He sat out Wednesday's contest and didn't enter Friday's game until the eighth inning. He felt healthy enough to play after pain-free batting practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, but the pain in his left side returned.

Initially, Soloff and manager Manny Acta said Choo wouldn't pick up a bat for at least a couple of days. Choo said Monday he could take some swings this weekend, but by the time he regains a rhythm in the cage and completes a series of drills necessary before he sees game action, it could be as long as two weeks.

Choo feels even more pain not being able to contribute to a team fighting for a playoff spot.

"That's the worst part," Choo said, "not being able to play, just sitting in the dugout."

Choo has played in just 84 games this season. He missed nearly seven weeks after a pitch by San Francisco's Jonathan Sanchez shattered his left thumb on June 25. He's batting .260 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs.

Head's first hit comes in unexpected fashion

CLEVELAND -- The scenario plays out in every player's head: a walk-off home run or a key hit during a rally, creating an unforgettable memory to cherish for the rest of his career.

Jerad Head's first Major League at-bat didn't go quite as he anticipated.

The rookie outfielder, called up from Triple-A Columbus on Sunday morning and immediately inserted into the batting order, beat out a slow roller to second base for an infield hit the first time he entered a Major League batter's box.

"I never thought that's the way it'd come," Head said, "but to get it out of the way was nice and allowed me to settle in and get comfortable in the box."

It was an especially surprising manner of reaching base for a player who hit .284 with 28 doubles, 24 homers and 70 RBIs in 114 games for the Clippers this season.

The Indians signed Head as an undrafted free agent in 2005. Six years later, he's contributing to a team eying a spot in the postseason. Tribe skipper Manny Acta said the experience gained by all of the team's young players this late in the season is invaluable.

"It's valuable that they're up here," Acta said, "not only learning and playing, but also playing meaningful games in September."

Head went 1-for-3 on Sunday. He reached base on an error in the eighth inning.

Brantley relieved to have closure on injury

CLEVELAND -- Michael Brantley will have season-ending surgery in the next couple of days, but the outfielder says it isn't the worst possible conclusion to his season.

Brantley, who was visibly frustrated the last few weeks while playing with a sore right wrist, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Sunday with a fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand. Dr. Thomas Graham, a renowned hand specialist, will conduct a procedure to remove part of the bone.

Brantley first experienced pain in early August, when he missed a pair of games on the team's trip to Boston. He tried to play through the pain but was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday after being unable to properly grip a bat for several weeks.

The 24-year-old is relieved to finally have a resolution to his nagging injury.

"It's good to finally get some answers," Brantley said. "You can take care of it. It's not something that's going to hinder you your whole career."

Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said it's unclear if the fracture in Brantley's hand caused the pain in his wrist. Brantley is just looking forward to being pain-free next season.

"That's the one good thing: It's not lingering," Brantley said. "It's something we can take out."

In 114 games this season, Brantley batted .266 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs.

Smoke signals

• Outfielder Trevor Crowe will join Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. Crowe had right shoulder surgery in March. During his rehab assignment, he has played six games with the organization's Rookie League team in Goodyear, Ariz., batting .444 (8-for-18) with two homers and eight RBIs.

• An MRI Monday on pitcher Josh Tomlin's right elbow revealed no tear. Tomlin was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a sprained ligament in his elbow. Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said he would be shut down for two weeks before the club reassessed his status, though if the team is out of playoff contention, his season could be over. Tomlin has stressed his intention to return to a Major League mound as soon as possible.

• Jeanmar Gomez earned the nod to start Tuesday's game against the Athletics. The Indians will recall the right-hander from Triple-A Columbus to make his fifth Major League start of the season. In five appearances with the Tribe, Gomez has posted an 0-2 record and 5.70 ERA. In 21 starts for the Clippers, the 23-year-old is 10-7 with a 2.55 ERA.

"He's pitched well down there," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He hasn't had any issues."