Considering Sept. 1 -- the date on which rosters expand -- is right around the corner, Duncan will likely have the chance to stick with Cleveland for the home stretch. The utility man was promoted from Triple-A Columbus on Friday after the Indians placed rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis on the 15-day disabled list.
Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said that Kipnis suffered a mild to moderate right hamstring strain while stretching prior to Thursday's game against the White Sox in Chicago. Kipnis, who underwent an MRI exam in Cleveland on Friday, is expected to miss three weeks with the injury.
"This guy has really given us a huge spark offensively," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He gave us some stability at second base and in our lineup hitting in the second hole."
Kipnis has also been dealing with a right oblique issue that has bothered him for the past week. Infielder Luis Valbuena was also recalled from Triple-A Columbus, and was in the starting lineup at second base for Friday's tilt against the Tigers.
Cleveland optioned outfielder Ezequiel Carrera (.236 in 34 games for the Indians this season) to Triple-A to vacate a spot for Valbuena. At Triple-A Columbus, Valbuena was hitting .299 with 16 homers, 20 doubles and 71 RBIs in 101 games. He has hit just .136 (3-for-22) in two previous stints with Cleveland this year.
Acta said Valbuena and Jason Donald would split the playing time at second base for now.
Under typical circumstances, Duncan would have been required to remain at Triple-A for a period of 10 days after being optioned on Saturday. An exception can be made in the event of an injury to the Major League club, so the Tribe technically promoted Duncan to replace Kipnis on the roster.
Kipnis' stint on the disabled list is retroactive to Sunday due to the fact that Duncan's last game in the big leagues fell one day earlier. That means that Kipnis -- hitting .279 with six homers and 11 RBIs in 18 games -- will not be eligible to be activated until Cleveland's Aug. 30 home game against Oakland.
Needless to say, Duncan was thrilled to be back so soon.
"We're playing good," Duncan said. "It's getting to the time of year when the excitement really starts to ramp up."
Duncan, who is beginning his fourth stint with the Indians this season, has hit .246 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 43 games. Against left-handed pitching, Duncan -- an option for first base, designated hitter and the corner outfield spots -- has hit .254 with one homer and 11 RBIs.
"Kipnis going on the disabled list obviously forced us to make a move," Acta said. "The thought process behind it is we have three left-handed-hitting outfielders that are playing every day, so there's not going to be that much opportunity for Carrera. We can have Shelley's right-handed bat here -- power off the bench."