Kipnis not yet ready for homecoming

Kipnis not yet ready for homecoming

CHICAGO -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has had Tuesday's game in Chicago circled on his calendar since being promoted to the big leagues. It would be Kipnis' first chance to play in front of family and friends back in his old stomping grounds.

Unfortunately, a pesky right oblique injury is spoiling Kipnis' homecoming.

"I've been wanting to come back to my hometown and play in front of everyone," Kipnis said. "But you've go to put the team first and put myself second. It stinks if they come and I won't be able to play, but we don't want two games to turn into 28 or anything like that.

"We're in a race. We've got to play this safe, and hopefully we can get back and contribute as soon as possible."

Prior to Tuesday's 8-7, 14-inning loss against the White Sox, Kipnis played catch in right field with manager Manny Acta before running through a handful of fielding drills. The rookie second baseman also ran in the outfield and hit in the indoor batting cage to test his ailing side. Kipnis hopes to take regular batting practice on Wednesday.

Kipnis said he was encouraged by his progress physically, but he remained out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive game.

"He progressed to baseball activities today and he looked well," Acta said on Tuesday. "He's getting treatment and we're going to evaluate him when he shows up tomorrow and go from there."

The sooner the Indians can get Kipnis back, the better it will be for the offense.

In his first 18 games with the Tribe, Kipnis has hit .279 with six homers, four doubles, 11 RBIs and 14 runs scored.

"He's not intimidated," Acta said. "He has brought a spark for us offensively in a time when we really needed it."

Kipnis did not believe the disabled list was a possibility at this point.

"I haven't had any conversations about that," he said.

Kipnis would rather talk about which game in Chicago he will be playing in the next two days.

"Today was encouraging," Kipnis said. "Hopefully, tomorrow we'll make even more progress."