8/12/2014 7:05 P.M. ET
Oblique to sideline Murphy four to five weeks
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- If the Indians are going to use the next month to pull closer to the postseason picture, they will have to do so without the assistance of veteran outfielder David Murphy.
On Tuesday, Cleveland announced that Murphy is expected to miss between four and five weeks after an MRI confirmed that his right side injury was indeed a strained oblique. Murphy could return in mid-to-late September, but rest is the most integral aspect of his recovery.
"The thing with obliques is they're going to heal on their own," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That was the hard thing in trying to explain it to Murphy, because he was like, 'It doesn't hurt that bad.' ... You have to get the pain to go away so you can start doing some things.
"You're kind of at the mercy of the oblique. I know that once the oblique goes away, Murph will go fast, because he wants to. I think most guys are like that, but you just have to let that thing heal."
Murphy, who was signed to a two-year contract last winter, is hitting .262 with seven home runs, 21 doubles and 55 RBIs in 109 games this season. The outfielder exited Saturday's game in New York with pain in his right side, landed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday and underwent an exam on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
"The way it was described was mild to moderate," Francona said, "which is not really all that surprising, because when Murph comes out of a game, I think we all knew that he had to be feeling it."
Swisher to seek further opinions on ailing knee
CLEVELAND -- Nick Swisher has fought through knee issues for much of this season with the Indians. Cleveland and the ailing designated hitter are currently weighing whether he should continue to battle what has proved to be a persistent problem.
After being placed on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right knee on Sunday, Swisher was examined by Dr. Rick Parker on Monday at the Cleveland Clinic. The Indians are currently in the process of gathering more information and seeking additional opinions before announcing the next steps for Swisher.
Manager Terry Francona would not say whether surgery was under consideration.
"I think what we need to do is allow this process to kind of play itself out," Francona said. "With the ballclub's help and urging, he's going to get another opinion and we're trying to align that right now. When we have information that's solid -- and when and where and all that -- we will give it to you guys. I think they're in the process of trying to do that right now."
Through 97 games this season, the 33-year-old Swisher is hiting .208 with eight home runs, 20 doubles, 42 RBIs, 36 walks, 111 strikeouts and an uncharacteristically low .278 on-base percentage. Over the previous 10 seasons in the Majors, Swisher turned in a .255/.358/.462 slash line with at least 20 homers in each of the past nine years.
Swisher -- signed to a four-year, $56 million contract prior to last season -- battled a left shoulder issue last season, when he hit .246 with 22 homers and 63 RBIs in 145 games. He has dealt with issues in both knees this year, but has tried to play through the discomfort.
Francona said the most important approach now is for Swisher to get to the bottom of the injury.
"It's hugely important," Francona said. "That's why I think, with the club's blessing, get another opinion and then put everybody's heads together and see how to progress moving forward. We'll have some information, hopefully, pretty soon."
Bourn could return for weekend set vs. Orioles
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' injury-depleted outfield might have help coming this weekend.
On Tuesday, manager Terry Francona indicated that sidelined center fielder Michael Bourn might be cleared to rejoin the team at some point during the upcoming weekend series against the Orioles. Bourn was slated to continue his Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday night.
"Bourny is doing really well," Francona said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he plays for us this weekend. We've just got to sit with Bourny and figure out how to get him to this weekend, just because we have a day off on Thursday, and having him sitting for a couple days might not make sense.
"So we'll sit with him and kind of figure out the best way to get him back here where he feels good about himself, and also has as many at-bats as he can get without having too many, because he's not ready to quite play every day."
Bourn has been on the disabled list since July 6 with a left hamstring injury, marking his third setback with the leg this season. Through his first three Minor League rehab appearances, he has gone 1-for-14 at the plate between stops with Double-A Akron (two games) and Columbus.
In 66 games this season, Bourn is hitting .267 with three home runs, nine doubles, seven triples, seven stolen bases, 21 RBIs and 37 runs scored. Cleveland signed the center fielder to a four-year deal worth $48 million prior to last season.
Quote to note
"What's important is what our record is and we have a ways to go. We've won enough where the next six, seven weeks are really important, but we have some ground to make up. That doesn't mean we can't do it, but we have to do some things better than we have."
• Zach Walters (acquired from the Nationals in the July 31 trade that sent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to Washington) played left field in his Indians debut on Sunday and was slotted into the lineup as the designated hitter on Tueday. Francona said the team wants to test the 24-year-old Walters' versatility over the next several weeks.
"We need to find out just how versatile he can be," Francona said. "With his power and his ability to switch-hit, if he can play short, that's always kind of the key. ... A guy that can play short and the outfield, that kind of lengthens out your roster."
• Veteran Jason Giambi will wear No. 72 when he comes off the disabled list for the Indians. The 43-year-old designated hitter is giving up No. 25 in honor of Indians great Jim Thome. Giambi chose the new jersey number because it was the number he wore at his first Major League Spring Training with the A's in 1993.
• On Tuesday, the Indians announced that low Class A Lake County right-hander Mitch Brown was named the organization's Minor League player of the week for the period of Aug. 4-11. Brown, 20, turned in seven shutout innings on Wednesday, extending his scoreless streak to 17 innings dating back to July 25.