MINNEAPOLIS -- Slumping Indians outfielder Johnny Damon returned to the starting lineup in Tuesday's series finale against the Minnesota Twins, one day after being replaced atop the order by Shin-Soo Choo.
However, Damon will have to earn his leadoff spot back. Choo was penciled in at No. 1 in the order for the second straight day Tuesday, where manager Manny Acta seems intent on keeping him, at least for the near future. Meanwhile, Damon was dropped to the seventh spot.
"Choo is our leadoff guy. That's where he is going to hit," Acta said. "[Damon] is struggling right now. He's going to continue to get his at-bats, but he's not going to get them in the leadoff spot right now."
Signed to a $1.25 million Minor League deal on April 17, Damon has failed to produce consistently since being inserted into the Indians' lineup on May 1. His batting average has plummeted to .159 (4-for-29) after posting only two hits in his last 18 at-bats.
Acta stands by his decision to pull Damon, but is confident the 38-year-old veteran can rediscover his swing at the bottom of the order.
"Johnny's numbers are there," Acta said. "He played decent last year. It's just a matter of him getting it going."
Back tightness keeps Hannahan on the shelf
MINNEAPOLIS -- Indians infielder Jack Hannahan was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day Tuesday as a result of lingering tightness in his back.
Hannahan said he started experiencing the tightness midway through the Indians' 12-1 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday. Later that night, the pain became progressively worse during the team's flight to Minneapolis, leading to his absence from the lineup in the first game of the two-game set against the Twins.
The tightness has subsided slightly, Hannahan said, but his status remains day to day. He will wait at least another day before attempting to take swings in the batting cage.
Indians manager Manny Acta wouldn't put a timetable on Hannahan's return, though there is reason to be optimistic that the 32-year-old infielder will be available when the team returns to Cleveland on Wednesday for a two-game series against Seattle.
"He's improved some. We'll see how the flight back home will affect him and reevaluate him tomorrow," Acta said.
The injury put a damper on Hannahan's homecoming. A St. Paul, Minn., native, Hannahan attended the University of Minnesota and was a stalwart for the school's baseball team, earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors in 2000.
"I'm disappointed I can't play, let alone in my hometown with my friends and family," Hannahan said. "But it's baseball. I'll try to get back out there as soon as possible."
Hannahan has posted a .287 batting average in 30 games this season, with six doubles and a trio of home runs.
Acta displays confidence in Asdrubal's ability
MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera continues to be a reliable force at the heart of the Indians' lineup. Entering Tuesday, he remains the team's only player with an average above .300, posting a .316 mark with 36 hits.
Cabrera's home run total isn't where it was a year ago, when he posted a career-high 25 homers and 92 RBIs, but Indians manager Manny Acta doesn't see it as an issue.
"He's a good hitter, period," Acta said prior to the Indians' series finale against the Twins on Tuesday. "He hit a lot of home runs last year and drove in a lot of runs. He's a good hitter. He has a chance to be a .300 hitter, or even .280 with 15-20 homers every year in this league. He's that good."
"He's doing what we want him to do. His on-base percentage and hitting ability is there."
Nate Sandell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.