Kipnis taking conservative approach, nearing return

Indians second baseman nursing shoulder issue

Kipnis taking conservative approach, nearing return

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians may have treated Jason Kipnis' right shoulder issue a little differently if this were the regular season. Because this is Spring Training -- and roughly a month remains until Opening Day -- Cleveland opted for a conservative approach with its second baseman.

On Saturday morning, Kipnis resumed normal batting practice in a group that included left fielder Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery in August), who hit on the field on consecutive days for the first time this spring. Brantley's timetable for a return to games remains unclear, but Kipnis is on pace to debut as a designated hitter within the next week.

"It feels good," Kipnis said of his shoulder. "Swinging's been feeling good for a while, though. I'm just going through a progression."

Kipnis received a cortisone shot on Sunday for his right shoulder, after an MRI revealed a mild rotator cuff strain. The second baseman was shut down from playing catch for five days, but has since resumed light throwing, including with a weighted ball.

"I think it makes complete sense," Kipnis said of the Indians' approach to the situation. "There's no reason to put a Band-Aid over a problem that you can hopefully just get rid of, because you have the time. You have the luxury of having weeks, not days, to get rid of it now, so you might as well take advantage of it.

Worth noting

Carlos Santana played 64 games (556 2/3 innings) at first base last season, but will "play significantly more" at the position this year, according to manager Terry Francona. Slugger Edwin Encarnacion projects to get the bulk of the time as the designated hitter, with Santana filling that role on occasion, too.

• Francona called righty Zach McAllister's 2 1/3 scoreless innings one of the "bright spots" of Friday's 16-7 loss to the Rockies. McAllister, who is in the plans for the Tribe's bullpen, will be stretched out to three innings at least once before the end of the spring.

• Outfielder Brandon Guyer (right hamstring) made his spring debut on Saturday as the DH for the Indians. He doubled and hit a home run in his return to the lineup.

• Ace Corey Kluber is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut (three innings) on Monday against the Brewers.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.