CHICAGO -- A large contingent of Jason Kipnis' family and friends made the trek to U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night. For 14 innings, they hoped the Indians rookie -- a native of the Chicago area -- would make his hometown debut.
A right oblique injury kept Kipnis on Cleveland's bench, sending his local fans home disappointed. On Wednesday, Indians manager Manny Acta made it clear that Kipnis would get a chance to play against the White Sox in Thursday's series finale.
"He's going to start playing tomorrow," Acta said prior to Wednesday's game. "I'm very impressed that this guy has been able to go through this and be able to play. We all know how those injuries are."
Kipnis, 24, has been out of the starting lineup for the Tribe for each of the past four games, including Wednesday's tilt on Chicago's South Side. The second baseman took early batting practice, fielded ground balls and played catch, but still received another day to rest.
Acta said Wednesday's workout was encouraging.
"He took very intense rounds of batting practice," Acta said. "He swung the bat well and did some running and all that. He passed the test."
That is good news for Cleveland's offense, which has benefited from Kipnis' bat since his promotion from Triple-A Columbus. In 18 games for the Tribe, Kipnis has hit .279 with six home runs, four doubles, 11 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Acta said that, given the nature of Kipnis' injury, the second baseman will need to be eased back into the mix.
"There are no guarantees," Acta said. "We're going to have to manage his playing time. He's a guy that, going forward, for now, at least for the first week or so, he's not going to be able to go out there every day. We're going to have to work around that."