Kipnis likely to return to lineup on Friday

Kipnis likely to return to lineup on Friday

CLEVELAND -- Manager Terry Francona could have written Jason Kipnis' name into the starting lineup on Wednesday, but he is taking a cautious approach with the entire season in mind.

Francona held Kipnis out of the lineup for the fourth straight game to give the second baseman more time to recover from soreness in his left elbow. Cleveland's manager said the current plan is to rest Kipnis through Thursday with the hope that he can return to the lineup on Friday, when the Indians open a 10-game, 11-day road trip through Houston, Chicago and Kansas City.

"Kip wanted to play today," Francona said prior to Wednesday's game against the Red Sox. "I thought if we gave him two more [days off], he has a chance to get back in the lineup and stay in the lineup, rather than come back too early and maybe still feeling it. I don't think that's fair to him, and he didn't put up a huge fuss, so I think it's probably the right thing to do. If I'm going to err, I'd rather it be on the cautious side than the other way."

Francona said part of the decision to keep Kipnis out on Thursday was the fact that the Red Sox are starting left-hander Jon Lester.

Kipnis last played for Cleveland on Friday and was then scratched from Saturday's game against the White Sox with the left elbow discomfort. The second baseman is unsure of what specifically led to the elbow pain, which is unrelated to the elbow issue he dealt with during Spring Training. During the preseason, it was Kipnis' right elbow that kept sidelined temporarily.

With Kipnis still out of the mix, Francona gave the nod to Cord Phelps as Cleveland's starter at second base against Boston. Phelps was called up from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday to add some insurance for the Tribe's infield.

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.