CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis still had some redness around the outside of his right eye on Friday afternoon, but the Indians' second baseman was feeling much improved after his bizarre bout with an unknown ailment one day earlier.
In the fifth inning of Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Royals, Kipnis stepped out of the batter's box with a 3-0 count and began rubbing his eye. He was soon joined by head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff, who poked and prodded, trying to determine what was behind the sudden discomfort.
"We don't know what it was," Kipnis said. "I'm sure it didn't help that I was scratching and rubbing with dirty batting gloves."
Kipnis does not wear contacts and he added that no villainous eyelashes were found.
The episode lasted several minutes. Soloff applied eye drops while Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza took a few warmup tosses to pass the time. Kipnis eventually asked to have his eyelid taped open, because that seemed to temporarily alleviate the issue.
Indians starter Justin Masterson jokingly referred to Kipnis as "Balboa," referencing the famous boxing movie Rocky.
"It was swollen on the outside," Kipnis said. "I said, 'Let's tape it up,' because it actually felt good when we taped it open kind of. Eventually it stopped itching as much and the irritation went down."
With Kipnis still fighting the eye problem, he settled back into the batter's box, took two pitches and drew a walk from Mendoza. The second baseman then added a base hit in each of his next two plate appearances, accounting for two of the Tribe's six hits on the afternoon.
Kipnis might consider rubbing pine tar in his eye more often before at-bats.
"I might need to start rubbing all the outs out of my eyes before the game," he quipped.