MINNEAPOLIS -- For the next few days, the Indians are operating without a utility man in the middle infield. But manager Manny Acta already has a contingency plan in mind, should something happen to shortstop Jason Donald or second baseman Jayson Nix.
"We have a guy who played shortstop for seven years in Cleveland," Acta said, referring to third baseman Jhonny Peralta. "He can move a few steps to his left."
That's the short-term setup in the middle infield. In the long-term (and "long," in this case means just a few days from now), the Indians will have a decision to make.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to return on Friday from his Minor League rehab following surgery on his fractured right forearm. Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a home run on Monday while playing for Double-A Akron.
When he returns, the Tribe will have to decide what to do with Donald, who has been filling in for Cabrera.
"We're still in the evaluation process," Acta said. "We have three more games to go. We could go in two different directions."
In one direction, Donald would supplant Nix as the regular at second base, with Nix becoming a utility man. In the other, Donald gets sent down to Triple-A Columbus to play every day and Nix, who has been a surprise success since the Indians claimed him off waivers last month, remains the regular at second.
The Indians don't want to use the 25-year-old Donald, who has hit .272 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 48 games, as a utility player.
"Donald needs to get the majority of the playing time wherever he is," Acta said.
If Nix moves to a backup role, he could help out at second, third, short and even in the outfield, Acta said.