8/30/2013 8:02 P.M. ET
Chisenhall hopes pinch-hit homer ends slump
By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Lonnie Chisenhall is hoping Thursday's pinch-hit home run will mark the end of his slump. He was back in the Indians' starting lineup Friday against the Tigers after coming off the bench the last three games.
"I feel like I've been taking good swings," Chisenhall said. "I had three pinch-hit [at-bats] in Atlanta, and fortunately I had a home run in one of them. It's definitely a confidence booster and encourages the work I'm doing."
During Chisenhall's slump, manager Terry Francona split his playing time at third base with Mike Aviles. In a 27-game stint at Triple-A Columbus earlier this season, Chisenhall flashed his potential, hitting .390 with 16 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs.
Chisenhall was 7-for-55 (.127) with one homer and three RBIs in August before his eighth-inning solo blast in Thursday's loss to the Braves. Chisenhall said he watched video of his swing from 2011 and '12 with hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo to try to find holes in his swing.
"Just cleaning up my mechanics," Chisenhall said. "I had gotten some kinks in my swing that normally weren't there. I had a clean swing in Spring Training, then I struggled and I changed. I'm going back to cleaning it up. Keeping it simple, getting ready on time, and getting the barrel on the ball."
Kluber tweaks schedule targeting return next weekend
DETROIT -- With the Minor League season ending soon, Corey Kluber decided to move his simulated game from Saturday to Monday in Cleveland, in hopes that he returns to the Indians' rotation from the 15-day disabled list by next weekend.
Kluber, who is 7-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 21 games this year, threw all of his pitches -- including his curveball -- in a bullpen session on Friday. He tested his curveball for the first time on flat ground on Thursday and said his injured right middle finger felt good.
"We did a bullpen today instead. Where tomorrow was going to be without breaking balls, so we decided to throw a bullpen with everything today," Kluber said. "That way I can throw everything in the simulated game on Monday."
Monday's simulated game will essentially serve as a rehab start, and the Indians hope he can rejoin the rotation afterward. Since baseball's rosters expand to 40 players on Sunday, the team will have more flexibility if they need to limit his workload.
"It actually moves up the process a little bit," manager Terry Francona said. "After that, he's actually eligible to pitch in a game, because we're into September. We have a few options we're contemplating."
Tribe signs Shoppach to Minor League contract
DETROIT -- The Indians brought back a familiar face on Friday, signing Kelly Shoppach to a Minor League contract and assigning him to Triple-A Columbus. He will likely return to Cleveland after rosters expand Sunday.
Shoppach hit .196 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 35 games with the Mariners this season before he was released on June 20. He later signed with the Nationals and Pirates, but wasn't promoted to the Majors with either club.
Manager Terry Francona said the catcher could give the Indians some added flexibility late in games.
"Because we have [Yan Gomes] and when we play Gomes, we usually play [Carlos] Santana, it will allow us to do some pinch-running, knowing we have a veteran guy we can put in in the ninth inning," Francona said.
• General manager Chris Antonetti said he wasn't worried about the Indians' bats after they scored three runs in a three-game series against the Braves.
"We, right now at the moment, aren't swinging the bats as well as we're capable of, but on balance, we've still been one of the more productive offenses in the American League," Antonetti said. "Seeing that gives us confidence to know there's potential in the group of guys we have and we now just need to work toward getting back to that point."
Antonetti said there's a possibility that the team could make more deals, but it'll depend on how the waiver process shakes out with some players.
• To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Jason Kubel, the Indians transferred left-hander Scott Barnes to the 60-day disabled list. Barnes hasn't pitched for Triple-A since July 2, due to a sprained left wrist.
Quote to note
"I just want to make sure we go through this last month with no regrets. Let's do what we do the best we can, and then when it's over, we'll see if we're good enough or not. That was really all it is. Me and the staff, we like these guys a lot. That doesn't mean the games are always going to be played perfectly and everybody is going to hit .300, but we have a chance to do something special."
-- Francona, on his message to the team prior to Friday's game against Detroit
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.