05/04/2013 5:45 PM ET
Kipnis helped by manager's vote of confidence
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Few could have blamed Terry Francona had he decided to move Jason Kipnis down in the order.
Kipnis has flirted with the Mendoza Line in recent weeks, and his two hits on Friday finally propelled him above the .200 mark. In Friday's walk-off win, Kipnis contributed a two-run triple, a two-out RBI bunt single and a game-tying RBI groundout, as the 26-year-old continued to flash signs that he is starting to come around at the plate. After his first-inning home run on Saturday, Kipnis has now collected at least one hit in nine of his last 12 contests.
"Over the last week, I think I've shown some signs of going in the right direction," Kipnis said. "I'm coming out of the funk I started the season in."
Kipnis directed the credit to his manager, who never wavered in his decision to pencil the second baseman near the top of his batting order. In 20 games, Kipnis batted in the No. 2 hole 13 times and hit third on seven occasions.
"It's always nice to have the support of your coach," Kipnis said. "We have a good relationship. I think we have a trust in each other, and the fact that he's stood by my side and had confidence and kept me where I am in the order so far, despite how I've been hitting, shows a lot and means a lot to me."
After strong 'pen session, Myers weeks from return
CLEVELAND -- It's a hurdle Brett Myers has had to clear every spring.
This year, he didn't. As a result, he's on the disabled list.
Myers continued his throwing program for the second consecutive day on Saturday as he recovers from inflammation in his right elbow. He told the Indians that it's a familiar problem, one he faces at the start of every season. Only this season, the symptoms never disappeared, as they usually do when he settles into his pitching routine.
"It just didn't really ever turn the corner the way he wanted it to, and it probably got a little worse," manager Terry Francona said. "It was affecting his command. He could get the velocity, but he wasn't commanding his fastball. And we knew that all spring, but he was like, 'I'll turn the corner.' Then when he didn't, we went and got him checked."
Myers sported a sizable bandage wrapped around his elbow following his throwing session on Saturday morning. Francona said, despite an impressive showing, Myers remains weeks away from a return to action.
"You could tell he's throwing free and easy, and it's not hurting and that's nice to see," Francona said. "He's already itching to get on the mound. That's premature, but the fact that he's talking like that is good. He needs probably a good couple of weeks of throwing."
Pestano battling 'cranky' elbow
CLEVELAND -- There was a method to manager Terry Francona's bullpen madness on Friday, and it revolved around Vinnie Pestano's right elbow.
Francona called for right-hander Cody Allen to enter the contest in the seventh inning, when the Indians held a one-run lead. Typically, Francona uses Joe Smith in the seventh, Pestano in the eighth and closer Chris Perez in the ninth.
On Saturday, the skipper revealed that Pestano has been battling what he termed a "cranky" elbow.
"It's not something I'm expecting to be a big issue," Pestano said. "It's something I've dealt with in the past. It just happened to flare up a little worse."
Pestano hasn't pitched in a game since last Sunday and has made only two appearances since April 22. He threw a bullpen session on Saturday morning, and the Indians will wait to see how his elbow responds before determining the next step for the right-hander. Pestano said the issue has no relation to the area that required Tommy John surgery earlier in his career.
"It's something that we've been monitoring for the last couple of years, something that crops up, just comes and goes," Pestano said. "We've been able to manage it and maintain it to a degree. This is the first time I haven't been able to answer the call."
Swish feeling better after resting with sore elbow
CLEVELAND -- Nick Swisher is not Terry Francona's teenage daughter, but it might appear that way when it comes to the slugger's recent injury.
"You can accuse me of being overprotective," Francona said. "I would plead guilty of that."
Swisher developed soreness in his left shoulder, a result of migrating back and forth between right field and first base. The constant switching took a toll on his throwing arm, and he sat out for the club's two-game set with Philadelphia and series opener against Minnesota on Friday. He returned to the lineup on Saturday, batting cleanup and serving as the designated hitter. He homered in his first at-bat.
Francona said Swisher was available to come off the bench on Friday night, but the skipper was hesitant to employ his services, even after he opted to lose designated hitter privileges late in the contest.
"With anybody -- and in Swisher's case, with a guy that's playing every day -- when you take a few days off to get something better, when he comes back I want it to be better," said Francona.
• Michael Bourn took batting practice on Friday and Saturday as he continues to test out his injured index finger. Francona reported that Bourn tested out "very well," and the Indians will monitor his progress over the next few days and then determine if he'll embark on a rehab assignment before being activated from the disabled list.
• Entering Saturday's contest, the Indians had three players ranked in the top five in two-out slugging percentage among American League players. Ryan Raburn paced the pack with a .870 mark, with Carlos Santana (.750) and Mark Reynolds (.690) ranking fourth and fifth.
• Since 2009, the Indians are 101-83 in one-run games, the fifth-best mark in the Major Leagues over that span.
Quote to note
"I try not to get caught up in how many we've won or lost, because it doesn't affect today."
-- Francona on the Indians' five-game winning streak, their longest since the 2011 campaign