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07/18/10 4:59 PM ET

Choo, Cabrera both likely back Friday

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are expected to get two of their best hitters back Friday.

Both Shin-Soo Choo (sprained right thumb) and Asdrubal Cabrera (fractured right forearm) are suiting up for Double-A Akron on a Minor League rehab assignment this week, with an eye on rejoining the Tribe for Friday's series opener against the Rays. They'll both play for the Aeros on Monday through Wednesday.

Though manager Manny Acta didn't initially think a Minor League rehab assignment would be necessary for Choo, Choo himself insisted on going down to Akron this week to see live pitching.

"The last time I played was July 1 [actually, July 2]," Choo said. "So I have not seen a pitcher for 20 days. I take batting practice every day, but I want to see a pitcher to get more comfortable."

Choo has ramped up his return-to-hit program this weekend. On Sunday, he took outdoor batting practice for the first time since the injury. He took about 50 swings outdoors and had no setbacks with the hand.

While hitting, Choo has his thumb supported by a splint and wrapped in tape. But the pain has subsided, the ligament does not appear to be damaged and a surgery that once seemed inevitable has been avoided.

That's good news for the Indians, who thought they might be without Choo for up to two months. Instead, they should have him back in a matter of days.

Cabrera was out of action for two months after suffering the forearm fracture, which required surgery. But he hasn't felt the least bit rusty during his rehab assignment.

"Everything feels really good," said Cabrera, who was in the Indians' clubhouse Sunday morning.

On Saturday in Akron, Cabrera played nine innings at shortstop for the first time on his assignment. He is 3-for-10 in three games with the Aeros and was 2-for-6 in two games with Class A Mahoning Valley. The Indians wanted him to get somewhere in the vicinity of 30 at-bats on this rehab assignment.

The only prominent member of the Indians' lineup who won't be coming back from the DL is center fielder Grady Sizemore, who is done for the season after microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Todd to get another chance with Tribe

CLEVELAND -- The Indians will boost their bullpen for a few days, promoting right-hander Jess Todd from Triple-A Columbus before Monday's series opener with the Twins.

Todd will take the roster spot of Jeanmar Gomez, who was sensational in a spot start against the Tigers on Sunday. With more roster moves looming later in the week, when Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera come back from the DL, the Indians will go with an eight-man bullpen for a few days.

The player to be named in last year's trade that sent Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals, Todd got hit hard in the big leagues in '09. He had a 7.40 ERA in 19 appearances for the Tribe.

With Columbus this year, Todd is 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 34 appearances. He's struck out 46 and walked 12 in 39 1/3 innings.

"He's been throwing the ball very well the last month or so," manager Manny Acta said of Todd. "He had a little bit of a rough time last year, but it was his first time in the big leagues. We're going to take another look at him."

Hernandez designated to give Tribe space

CLEVELAND -- Anderson Hernandez arrived to Progressive Field on Sunday morning, changed into his workout clothes, got called into manager Manny Acta's office, came out and changed back into his street clothes.

Hernandez was informed by the Indians that he had been designated for assignment to make room for right-hander Jeanmar Gomez, who was promoted from Triple-A Columbus to make Sunday's spot start against the Tigers. And understandably, Hernandez wasn't happy. It was the second time he has been designated by the club this year.

"I'm not surprised," he said. "It happened once, so it could happen again."

Hernandez had a chance to compete for the Indians' regular second-base job after Luis Valbuena was optioned to Columbus on June 24. But Jayson Nix beat him out, leaving Hernandez, who hit .246 (15-for-61) in 22 games, in a utility role. The Indians were initially going to send down a reliever to make room for Gomez, but after playing 11 innings in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader, they needed a full stock of arms for Sunday's game.

"I don't feel really good, because I didn't do great," Hernandez said. "It had to be somebody [to get sent out]. This time, it's me."

Hernandez said he would accept an assignment to Columbus if he clears waivers.

The Indians are expected to make another move before Monday's series opener in Minnesota, because Gomez figures to only be with the team for a day.

Worth noting

Anthony Reyes, recovering from last year's Tommy John surgery, pitched two innings in the Rookie-level Arizona League on Saturday, beginning a 30-day rehab assignment in the Minors. He is scheduled to make another start in the Arizona League on July 23. Manager Manny Acta said Reyes could provide depth later in the year, when the Indians begin limiting the workload for some of their young arms in the rotation. ... The reason Justin Masterson was pushed back from his expected start Sunday to Tuesday in Minneapolis was because he twisted his left ankle when he missed a step at home. The injury is not serious. ... The last time the Indians began the second half of a season 4-0 was 1995... On Saturday against the Tigers, Fausto Carmona walked six batters but managed to record the win for the second time this year. He's the only pitcher in the Majors to do that this season. The last Indians pitcher to do it was Rick Sutcliffe, teammate of current STO broadcaster Rick Manning, in 1982. ... Right-handed relievers Zach Putnam and Rob Bryson have both ascended a level in the Minors. Putnam was 4-1 with three saves and a 3.86 ERA for Double-A Akron and will join Triple-A Columbus. Bryson was 2-1 with one save and a 2.25 ERA for Class A Kinston and will join Akron. ... For more on the Tribe, visit the CastroTurf blog at http://castrovince.mlblogs.com.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. He blogs about baseball at CastroTurf. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.