05/09/2013 6:16 PM ET
Bourn activated, returning to lineup Friday
By Zack Meisel and Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona finally said the five words that Cleveland fans have been waiting to hear.
"Bourny is ready to go," Francona said on Thursday.
Following the Tribe's 9-2 victory over the A's, the Indians announced that center fielder and leadoff man Michael Bourn has been activated from the 15-day disabled list. Bourn will be back in the starting lineup on Friday for Cleveland's road contest against the American League Central-rival Tigers.
To clear a spot on the active roster, the Indians optioned lefty reliever Scott Barnes to Triple-A Columbus.
"I've been itching to get back out there," Bourn said. "I get a chance to go out there [Friday] to play against a team that's really good."
Bourn -- signed to a four-year contract worth $48 million over the offseason -- suffered a laceration of his right index finger while sliding headfirst into first base in the eighth inning of a game against the White Sox on April 14. On the play, Chicago left-hander Matt Thornton stepped on Bourn's hand, which required five stitches and a little more than three weeks of recovery time.
Given Bourn's extended layoff and abbreviated rehab stint -- he played just two games with Triple-A Columbus -- Francona indicated that the center fielder might be eased back into the regular mix.
"We'll kind of monitor it," Francona said. "He only had two [rehab] games, and we have a doubleheader coming up [on Monday]. We have the ability to move guys around, fortunately. But, yeah, he'll play [Friday] unless something happens on the plane."
Through 10 games, Bourn has hit .333 (15-for-45) with two homers, four doubles, two RBIs and seven runs scored for the Indians.
While he was sidelined, right fielder Drew Stubbs shifted to center field and utility man Ryan Raburn moved to right field on a consistent basis. Overall, the Indians went 12-8 and scored an average of 5.6 runs per game while Bourn was on the DL.
"I know we have depth," Bourn said. "Drew moved over, and Raburn stepped in and did a heck of a job. We've got depth throughout our lineup and even throughout the infield and with the pitching. When something like that happens, we were fortunate to have guys who could [fill in]."
Perez, Indians reflect on Wednesday controversy
CLEVELAND -- Mike Aviles passed his phone around to a gathering of teammates in the clubhouse on Thursday morning.
One by one, Indians players read the latest article discussing Wednesday night's controversial call. It may take some time before talk about the play dies down.
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Oakland's Adam Rosales hit a Chris Perez pitch toward the top of the 19-foot wall in left-center field. The ball appeared to strike the railing above the padded fence. Initially, umpires ruled it a double, but they reviewed the call as Rosales waited at second base.
After the review, they upheld the original ruling, and A's manager Bob Melvin argued his way to an ejection before the Indians eventually hung on for a 4-3 victory.
"That's definitely one of the weirdest saves I've had," Perez said. "The most memorable, for sure. To end the game like that -- I had two outs and nobody on and then the home run, err, double, and then a hit-by-pitch and a walk. It shouldn't have been as intense as it was."
On Thursday, Melvin detailed his thinking during the umpires' review.
"It actually worried me when it took so long," he said. "Even the group in the suite next to us, you could see them look at the replay one time, and they all turned around and said, 'It's a home run.' And when I went to look at it in the video room, their announcers were saying, 'It's a home run, let's go. What's taking so long?' So that was my experience with it."
As Indians players sat around a table on Thursday morning, playing cards and completing crossword puzzles, they discussed how they would approach the situation if they were forced to replay Wednesday's contest from the point of the disputed call.
Melvin doubted that would take place.
"I don't know if there's a precedent for that," Melvin said. "I do know the rule stands that when I ask them to go in and look at replay and they do, and when they come out with a decision, that's supposed to be the end of it. And that's why I was thrown out, for continuing it. Other than that, I don't know."
Major League Baseball executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre issued the following statement Thursday regarding the instant replay review: "By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night's crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.
"Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night's decision."
Swish feels he's regaining swing after injury
CLEVELAND -- The statistics don't necessarily support his claim, but Nick Swisher contends that he's gradually coming out of his slump.
Through his first 16 games of the season, Swisher batted .310 with a .946 OPS. In the 12 contests since, the 32-year-old is hitting .182 with a .593 OPS.
"That's the one guy I don't worry about," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "I really don't. He's been through it. He knows his swing."
Swisher was sidelined for three games last week with a sore throwing shoulder, an injury that resulted from frequently shifting between first base and right field. He's yet to play the outfield since he returned to the lineup.
On Wednesday, Swisher belted a game-tying home run in the sixth inning. The Indians eventually topped the A's, 4-3.
"I'm starting to feel a little better," Swisher said. "I feel like I've been getting a hit a game. I haven't had that breakout game in the past week, but for me, I'm just getting that confidence back and making sure the shoulder is 100 percent. It's starting to feel like I've got a little whip in my stick."
Quote to note
"It's been a little bit of everything. You've seen great defense out there. The bullpen has been great. The starting pitching has been doing a good job, and the guys have been scoring runs. Whether it be one run or six runs, they've been helping out."
-- Indians starter Justin Masterson, on the Tribe's nine wins over its last 10 games
• Indians setup man Vinnie Pestano, who is on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tendinitis, is scheduled to resume a throwing program on Sunday in Cleveland. If Pestano does not face any setbacks, the right-hander is targeting May 17 for his return. As things stand right now, the tentative plan calls for him to make one Minor League rehab appearance on Wednesday.
• Catcher Lou Marson, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, was given clearance to initiate a throwing program.
• The Indians have committed only one error over their last 10 games, in which they are 9-1.
• The Indians entered Thursday's matinee with a team batting average of .269, the third-best mark in the Majors.
Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.