HOUSTON -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was back in the lineup for Friday night's game against the Astros, batting second. He finished 2-for-4 with a stolen base in the Tribe's 3-2 loss.
Kipnis had not played since last Friday against the Chicago White Sox due to soreness in his left elbow, As a result, he was getting more than a little itchy to get back in the game.
"Especially with my personality, it drives me nuts not to be playing," Kipnis said. "I hate it, not to be able to get out there. I'm happy to be in the lineup tonight."
Kipnis pronounced himself ready to return after a session on Friday afternoon in the batting cages at Minute Maid Park.
"Better, definitely better," Kipnis said. "I've gotten to the point where I'm not trying to compensate for the elbow. Not worried too much about whether it's going to give out on a certain swing. There's still a little soreness, but to the point where now, I feel I can handle it and play through it."
"He feels pretty good," manager Terry Francona confirmed. "The whole idea was not to rush it, so if he took a swing he wouldn't hurt himself. Now, he can get right back in there and take off."
Kipnis isn't sure how he injured the elbow.
"I couldn't pinpoint it," he said. "There's no specific event that happened. I woke up, went in and it just wasn't too good. Something was wrong in there. I've been taking the necessary steps afterwards."
Kipnis had played in eight games this season, hitting just .125 with three doubles and two RBIs.
Defensively, he wasn't sure what to expect on Friday night.
"I haven't had a game situation yet," he said. "If I straighten it out real fast, we'll see how that goes. I'll take some ground balls during BP. Everything else seems good enough to play."
Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.