CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta was not about to take the bait. When asked if he liked second baseman Jason Kipnis in the second spot of Cleveland's lineup, Acta cracked a smile.
"I like Kipnis in every spot," Acta said. "I just think he's going to be a very good player. I think he can hit."
History has shown that Kipnis is an especially sound hitter as the No. 2 man in the Tribe's batting order. Granted, that history consists of 38 only career games after Sunday's 4-0 victory over the Angels, but the young second baseman has performed well when given the chance to occupy the second slot.
Dating back to last season, when Kipnis received his first taste of the big leagues, the 25-year-old has hit .288 (44-for-153) with seven home runs, nine doubles, two triples, 23 RBIs and 29 runs scored as the Indians' second hitter. Acta said the left-handed-hitting Kipnis has a style that fits well behind the leadoff man.
"He's got pretty good power for a second baseman and a guy his size," Acta said. "He can run. He can bunt. So I think he's going to be a very good player. It's just that there's a process with these guys. You don't want to put too much pressure on them right away. Hitting second, he fits good there because he's got some juice.
"He can shoot a ball into the hole or pop a ball out if the leadoff hitter gets on. Or, if the pitcher or catcher are paying too much attention to [a baserunner] and are afraid that the guy's going to run, he'll probably see some fastballs. He can juice some balls all over the field."
Kipnis is hitting .400 (12-for-30) over his last eight games, after going 1-for-4 on Sunday. Prior to that strong stretch, Kipnis opened the year with a .167 (8-for-48) mark over his first 12 games for the Indians. On Sunday, he was in the second spot of the lineup for the third consecutive game.
"I like him ninth, too," Acta reiterated. "And eighth. And Seventh. I like him everywhere."