CHICAGO -- For the first time in nearly two weeks, Jack Hannahan walked into the Indians' clubhouse and found his name in the starting lineup. The third baseman was looking forward to finally trying to move beyond his persistent back issue.
"It's really frustrating not to be able to be out there with your teammates," Hannahan said on Saturday when he returned to the lineup for the Tribe's game against the White Sox. "You want to be out there competing and winning games, helping them win games. But, it's a minor setback in the big picture.
"I'm just excited to get back out there and get back out with the guys."
Hannahan missed the previous 11 games due to tightness in his lower back, but Cleveland was hesitant to place the third baseman on the disabled list. Hannahan believes that was not because the injury dragged on longer than expected, but because he was improving daily at a slow rate.
"I think it was more the fact that it was getting better every day," Hannahan said. "It just took a long time."
Indians manager Manny Acta noted that Hannahan would not play in consecutive games right away, meaning the third baseman will likely be out of the lineup on Sunday in Chicago. The Tribe wants to be cautious for now in how it handles Hannahan, who was hitting .287 with three home runs, six doubles and 18 RBIs through 30 games this season.
Right now, Cleveland's backup third baseman is Jose Lopez, who played well in Hannahan's absence. Entering Saturday, Lopez was hitting .316 (12-for-38) with one home run, four doubles and seven RBIs in his last 11 games for the Tribe. Hannahan was happy to see Lopez step up like that over the last two weeks.
"Absolutely," Hannahan said. "Jose, he's a veteran. I played with him in Seattle. He jumped in there and didn't miss a beat. He played good defense and came up with big hits and big RBIs. The guy played great."