BALTIMORE -- The Indians not only believe that second baseman Jason Kipnis will be an All-Star in the future, the club feels that Kipnis has been an All-Star this season.
On Sunday, the handshakes were reserved for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and closer Chris Perez, who were each named to the American League All-Star team for the second straight year. Kipnis was left off the league's elite squad, and that was disappointing news for Indians manager Manny Acta.
"I'm a little sad that Jason is not going to have an opportunity to make it," Acta said. "We made sure we told him that in our heart he's an All-Star. He has played [like] an All-Star."
Following Cleveland's 6-2 victory over the Orioles on Sunday, Kipnis declined comment when approached by reporters. If he was upset about what can easily be viewed as a snub, it would certainly be understandable.
In only his first full season in the big leagues, the 25-year-old Kipnis has hit .275 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs for the Indians. The left-handed-hitting second baseman has also compiled seven doubles, three triples, 20 stolen bases, 27 walks, 47 runs scored, 85 hits and 131 total bases. Kipnis also boasts a .336 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage.
A year ago, Kipnis played in the Futures Game and went 1-for-2 with a home run in the U.S. team's 6-4 win over the World team. A second-round pick by Cleveland in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Kipnis entered this season as a two-time winner (2010-11) of the organization's Lou Boudreau Minor League Player of the Year award.
Kipnis enjoyed a 36-game taste of the Majors last season, but was named the full-time starting second baseman heading into 2012.
Against Baltimore on Sunday, Kipnis went 1-for-4 with an RBI single and a walk. In the ninth inning, following his lone hit of the game, Kipnis promptly stole second base. With that swipe, Kipnis became the first Indians infielder since Roberto Alomar (21) in 2000 to steal at least 20 bases before the All-Star break.
Heading into Sunday's game, Kipnis ranked first in the American League at his position in stolen bases and RBIs, second in homers and third in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, runs and total bases.
"His numbers are there," Acta said. "But historically in this game, so many guys have had the numbers. But you only have so many spots. In his case, having so many great second basemen in the American League really hurt him."
Throughout the fan balloting process, Kipnis worked his way into fourth place behind New York's Robinson Cano, Texas' Ian Kinsler and Boston's Dustin Pedroia. Cano was voted in as the AL's starter at second base and Kinsler was named to the All-Star team as a reserve player through peer balloting.
Cano has hit .310 with 20 home runs and 46 RBIs through 78 games for the Yankees, while Kinsler has hit at a .276 clip with nine homers and 40 RBIs through 77 games for the Rangers.
The only other way Kipnis might have had a shot was if he would have made the cut as one of the AL's Final Vote candidates. This year though, that crop was limited to five pitchers: Jonathan Broxton of the Royals, Yu Darvish of the Rangers, Ernesto Frieri of the Angels, Jason Hammel of the Orioles and Jake Peavy of the White Sox.
Chisenhall looking at longer recovery period
BALTIMORE -- It is possible that third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall could return to the Indians before the end of this season. But the chances appear slim now that he has had his fractured forearm analyzed and surgically repaired.
Cleveland announced on Sunday that Chisenhall is expected to miss at least 10 to 12 weeks after undergoing a procedure to stabilize his broken right ulna. The operation was performed by specialist Dr. Thomas Graham on Saturday at the Cleveland Clinic.
"We'll see how it goes," Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said. "The calendar is the calendar. But, hopefully, he'll make it back to play again this year."
Chisenhall exited Friday's 9-8 loss to the Orioles after being hit on the right arm by a 91-mph fastball from Baltimore lefty Troy Patton. The Indians initially estimated that the 23-year-old third baseman would likely miss between four to six weeks. But that was before Dr. Graham had a chance to take a closer look at the injury.
The forearm injury required an ORIF (Open Reduction Internal Fixation) procedure, which included having Dr. Graham use a plate and screws to stabilize the minimally-displaced fracture. Chisenhall will likely remain in a cast for two weeks before shifting into a splint. A longer recovery period is anticipated, given that the fracture is located close to the wrist.
It was tough news for Cleveland.
"That's a tough one," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Obviously, the doctors know better. Being closer to the joint, it'll take longer. [Soloff] is optimistic that [Chisenhall] will still play at some point this year. But four to six and 10 to 12, that's a totally different story."
Soloff compared the injury to one suffered in 2010 by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who broke his left forearm during an on-field collision with Jhonny Peralta. Cabrera missed two months before returning to the lineup.
Through 24 games for the Indians this season, the Chisenhall has hitting .278 (20-for-72) with three home runs and nine RBIs. He had been heating up of late, posting a .342 (13-for-38) average over his past 13 games.
In Friday's contest, Chisenhall went 1-for-2 with a single and one run scored before exiting.
Chisenhall -- a first-round pick by the Indians in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft -- had been splitting time between third base and designated hitter since being promoted from Triple-A Columbus on May 28. Chisenhall's time at third has been limited since Jack Hannahan returned on June 15 after a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
Soloff does not believe the injury will hurt Chisenhall's future performance.
"We're optimistic that he'll make a full recovery," Soloff said. "Nothing is 100 percent, but the outcomes in cases like this are very strong. He's a hard-working kid."
Indians catcher Carlos Santana said he was "very surprised" not to see his name in Sunday's lineup for Cleveland's game against the Orioles. Santana has sat out four games due to back and right-side soreness. But the catcher said he felt much improved on Sunday. Acta said the club was simply being cautious.
"He hasn't hit on the field yet," Acta said. "He's done some soft toss work and all of that, but there's no need to rush anything. We could give him the day off ... and when he hits on the field [Monday], maybe he plays [Monday]."
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in a Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Columbus on Saturday. Hafner, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to a right knee injury, was scheduled to suit up for the Clippers again on Sunday. Acta said Hafner might be ready for activation during the upcoming homestand.
"He's feeling good," Acta said. "He's going to play again [on Sunday] and then we're going to re-evaluate him after the game and make a decision about whether we'll activate him for the homestand at some point, whether that's [Monday] or [Tuesday]."
On Sunday, the Indians signed catcher Nelson Rodriguez, who was selected in the 15th round of the First-Year Player Draft last month. Rodriguez attended George Washington High School in New York -- the same school that produced former Tribe slugger Manny Ramirez. Cleveland has signed 20 of its 40 picks from this year's Draft.