Kipnis shakes off early season woes

Kipnis shakes off early season woes

CHICAGO -- Part of the reason the Indians trusted Jason Kipnis with an everyday job at the start of the season was the belief that the young second baseman can be a spark plug for the offense. Kipnis has backed that up with his bat of late.

Heading into Thursday's game against the White Sox, Kipnis appeared to be over some of the offensive woes that plagued him earlier in the season. As a result, Indians manager Manny Acta has used him as the Tribe's second hitter more often.

"He has picked it up the last two weeks," Acta said. "We're very excited about the way he's playing."

Over his past 10 games, Kipnis was hitting .421 (16-for-38) with a 1.026 OPS, entering Thursday. That strong stretch follows a 12-game slump to start the season in which he hit .167 (8-for-48) with a .622 OPS. In his first five games, Kipnis hit .095 (2-for-21). The second baseman has posted a .338 average in 17 games since that dry spell.

On the season, Kipnis has hit .279 with a .351 on-base percentage and a .453 slugging percentage through 22 games for Cleveland. Along the way, he has contributed three home runs, two doubles, two triples, five stolen bases, eight walks, 13 RBIs and 13 runs scored.

"He has matured pretty quick," Acta said. "He understands that this is a very humbling game and that nothing is going to come easy to him. And he has fit in pretty good since last year here. This guy is going to be a very good player, man. It's a process. He's going to have his ups and downs."