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05/30/12 6:14 PM ET

Kipnis thriving in three-hole for Tribe's offense

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta doesn't see Jason Kipnis as a future No. 3 hitter, but the second baseman sure looks comfortable at that spot in the lineup.

Kipnis, who usually hits second, moved down a spot for three games from Saturday through Monday to fill in for the injured Asdrubal Cabrera. Kipnis was 7-for-13 with two home runs and six RBIs in those three games.

"It's fun," Kipnis said of hitting third. "I try to have the same approach no matter where I am in the order. I'm just fortunate enough to be hitting well when they made the switch."

Kipnis has been one of the Indians' most consistent hitters all season. Entering Wednesday, he was hitting .281 with a team-leading eight home runs, 30 RBIs and 55 hits. It's because of Kipnis' success that Acta was able to move Shin-Soo Choo out of the middle of the order and into the leadoff spot.

"Right now, [Kipnis] is there [offensively]," Acta said. "He's using the whole field and squaring the ball up. He's hitting them where they're pitching them. That's a sign of a good hitter. That's what the good hitters do."

While he's capable of hitting the ball out of the park on any given at-bat, Kipnis is also willing and able to lay down a sacrifice bunt or take a walk and steal a base to help the team out.

"He's one of those 'whatever it takes' kind of guys," Acta said.

"That's what I try to pride myself on," Kipnis said. "If I'm not hitting too well, maybe I can lay down a bunt or maybe I can draw a walk, or something. Just find some way to get on base."

Barnes happy to receive long-awaited call

CLEVELAND -- Scott Barnes got the call he'd been waiting for on Tuesday night. After nearly three years in the Indians organization, the left-hander finally made it to the Major Leagues.

Barnes, 24, took the roster spot of Travis Hafner, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday morning.

Barnes didn't allow a hit and struck out one in his Major League debut against the Royals on Wednesday. He walked two and hit a batter in one inning of work, but escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by getting Jeff Francoeur to foul out.

"Once [Triple-A Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh] closed the door, he had a smile on his face," Barnes said of how he found out, "so I sort of had an idea. It was a really good moment. I'm never going to forget that."

The Indians acquired Barnes from the Giants on July 27, 2009, in exchange for Ryan Garko. Barnes had been one of the team's top starting pitching prospects, but he was recently moved to a relief role. Barnes was 0-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 11 games (three starts) for Columbus this season.

"It was just something the guys thought I could contribute to the team as a reliever," Barnes said. "I was willing to do it, and I'm excited for the opportunity to have a shot now."

Barnes said it wasn't overly difficult to adjust to being a reliever. He still throws his same three pitches -- a fastball, slider and changeup -- he just works fewer innings at a time.

"It's a little different, but at the same time, it's pitching," he said. "It's the same thing. You're just trying to get outs every time you go out there."

Quote to note

"It was pretty impressive. Those are things I used to be able to do."
-- Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore, who is currently on the disabled list with a back injury, on Michael Brantley's leaping catch to rob Chicago's Alex Rios of a home run on Saturday.

Smoke signals

• Catcher Lou Marson was out of the lineup for the third consecutive day on Wednesday after being hit in the mouth by a Gavin Floyd pitch on Sunday in Chicago. Marson needed three stitches to seal the gash, and he said on Tuesday that it is painful to wear the catcher's mask.

• Johnny Damon took Travis Hafner's spot in the lineup as the Indians' designated hitter on Wednesday. Damon spent a good amount of time at DH for both the Tigers and Rays the last two seasons, so it's nothing new for him. "The last two years I was on young teams, so I DHd quite a bit," Damon said.

• Asdrubal Cabrera returned to the lineup at shortstop on Wednesday for the first time since Friday. Cabrera missed three games with a tight hamstring and served as Cleveland's DH on Tuesday night. The Indians are keeping Juan Diaz on the roster for now as a backup shortstop.

• The Indians stole two more bases on Tuesday night, giving them 39 on the season. They rank fifth in the big leagues and third in the American League in stolen bases.

• Ubaldo Jimenez's next start was pushed back from Saturday against Minnesota to Tuesday at Detroit. Jimenez cramped in his left side during his last start on Sunday at Chicago, and Acta said he wanted to give the right-hander a few extra days just to make sure he's OK.

Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.