With Kipnis sore, Tribe calls on Phelps for depth

With Kipnis sore, Tribe calls on Phelps for depth

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have added some insurance for their infield while second baseman Jason Kipnis continues to rest a sore left elbow.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Red Sox, Cleveland promoted Cord Phelps from Triple-A Columbus, giving the club a backup option for second and third base. Kipnis, who was scheduled to take part in batting practice on Tuesday, has been sidelined with his elbow injury since Saturday.

"I feel better. It's getting there," Kipnis said on Tuesday. "Hopefully everything goes well today and I show up fine tomorrow and go from there."

Utility man Mike Aviles started in place of Kipnis at second for Tuesday's game, and Ryan Raburn -- another reserve for second -- was in right field for the Tribe. Regular right fielder Drew Stubbs shifted to center field as a replacement for Michael Bourn, who is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list within the next few days with a right index finger injury.

To clear room on the roster for Phelps, Cleveland optioned catcher Omir Santos to Columbus. The Indians also sent right-hander Robert Whitenack -- designated for assignment on April 9 -- outright to Double-A Akron on Tuesday.

Phelps opened this season on the Minor League disabled list due to neck stiffness, but he played in two games since returning to the field. During Spring Training, Phelps impressed the Indians by hitting .375 (18-for-48) with three home runs, four doubles and seven RBIs in 23 Cactus League games.

"He couldn't have played any better," manager Terry Francona said of Phelps' spring showing. "So when you call a guy up, you're kind of excited because he deserves it."

Phelps was happy that his spring performance paid off.

"I went into Spring Training looking to just have a positive attitude," Phelps said, "and have a good time every day and work hard. I wanted to show that and have it shine through in my play. I had a good spring. I was happy with how it went. I did everything I could do."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.