8/5/2014 7:00 P.M. ET
Indians playing it safe with rehabbing Bourn
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have taken a cautious approach with Michael Bourn's latest comeback from a left hamstring injury. It will likely be at least one more week until the sidelined center fielder is cleared to possibly rejoin the Major League club.
On Tuesday, Bourn was slated to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Akron, playing five innings and manning center. Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Bourn (on the 15-day disabled list since July 6) would have his work load gradually increased over the course of the next eight days.
"That can be changed," Francona was quick to remind. "It's certainly on how he's feeling, but that's kind of the rough outline going in."
Following Tuesday's five-inning rehab game, Bourn is scheduled to play seven innings for Akron on Wednesday. The outfielder will have a day off on Thursday before continuing his assignment on Friday (seven innings) and Saturday (seven innings). Following another day off, Bourn is then slated to play in back-to-back nine-inning games.
When Triple-A Columbus returns home on Monday, Bourn will likely shift his rehab to that affiliate.
"It's been step by step," Francona said of Bourn's comeback. "What we'd like to get is where he can play without thinking about it."
Through 66 games this year, Bourn is hitting .267 with three homers, nine doubles, seven triples, seven stolen bases, 21 RBIs and 37 runs. This marks the third setback this season involving Bourn's left hamstring, which was surgically repaired -- albeit in a different area than the current injury -- in October.
Swisher nearing return after taking batting practice
CLEVELAND -- Nick Swisher is nearly ready to return to the Indians' lineup. The only problem now is that the lineup might not have a spot for him right away.
On Tuesday, Swisher tested his sore right wrist with some early work in the batting cage and regular hitting on the field, but the designated hitter remained out of the starting lineup for the second game in a row. Swisher might be available by Wednesday, but Cleveland will not have the use of the DH under National League rules in Cincinnati.
The lack of the DH for the two-game road series against the Reds will, however, allow Indians manager Terry Francona to ease Swisher back into the mix.
"That's probably sensible," Francona said prior to Tuesday's game at Progressive Field. "I don't know if he'd play tomorrow. We'll see where we are the next day. Some of it will be how he feels and some of it will be situational, depending on what we want to do."
Following the two-game set in Cincinnati, Cleveland will have the DH again during its upcoming three-game weekend series against the Yankees.
Through 93 games this season, Swisher is hitting .212 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs, piling up 106 strikeouts against 36 walks for the Indians. He injured his wrist while swinging the bat on Sunday, when he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Texas righty Yu Darvish. Even with that showing, Swisher has hit .333 (8-for-24) in his past seven games.
Francona noted that Swisher might be available off the bench on Tuesday, though the manager added that Wednesday might be more realistic.
"He's vastly improved to the point where he can start being available," Francona said.
Quote to note
"Klubes has pitched to the point where, heck yeah, we better play with confidence. He's one of the best pitchers in the league."
-- Francona, on starter Corey Kluber
• Heading into Tuesday's game against the Reds, Indians catcher Yan Gomes was hitting at a .333 clip with six home runs, 20 RBIs and a 1.008 OPS in 27 games dating back to July 1. Gomes' 3.5 WAR this season (via fangraphs.com) ranked second among Major League catchers, trailing only Jonathan Lucroy (4.0) of the Brewers.
"He's been terrific," said Francona. "I think he's actually been pretty consistent all year. For a guy that doesn't walk a lot, a lot of times you see the batting average fluctuate -- especially with a catcher, just because of the wear and tear -- but I think he's been really consistent."
• Indians reliever John Axford entered Monday's win over the Reds in the eighth inning with the tying run on-deck, setting up a unique save situation for the former closer in Cleveland's eventual 7-1 rout. Axford worked the final 1 2/3 innings, collecting his 10th save, but first since May 3. The righty has turned in a 2.22 ERA in 31 games since being removed from the closer role.
"We've kind of come to the conclusion," Francona said, "that he's at his best when he's still pitching with adrenaline, like game-on-the-line-type situations, because he still has that feeling of the end of the game. He's been really good. His stuff is playing up and he has some wiggle room."
• On Tuesday, the Indians named Columbus right-hander Tyler Cloyd the organization's Minor League player of the week for the period of July 28-Aug. 3. Cloyd spun a no-hitter against Louisville on Wednesday, marking the first nine-inning no-no in the International League since Justin Germano achieved the feat on July 26, 2011, against Syracuse.