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Bourn could be back with Indians this weekend

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CLEVELAND -- The way things are progressing, the Indians might have center fielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn back in time for this weekend's series against the Tigers, but manager Terry Francona is being careful not to look that far ahead.

"If he needs more games," Francona said of Bourn, who is on a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus, "we're going to do whatever is in his best interest."

Bourn, who has been sidelined since lacerating his right index finger on April 14, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base in seven innings as Columbus' center felder on Tuesday. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout for the Clippers on Wednesday, with general manager Chris Antonetti in attendance to monitor his performance.

Francona said that Bourn would be re-evaluated following that game.

"We'll see how he feels and kind of go from there," Francona said. "He had a really good night [on Tuesday]."

In 10 games before the injury, Bourn hit .333 with two home runs, four doubles, one triple, two RBIs and seven runs. While he has been on the disabled list, Drew Stubbs has filled in admirably as the center fielder, and utility man Ryan Raburn has performed well offensively as the temporary right fielder (Stubbs' position).

Entering Wednesday, the Indians were 11-8 in 19 games without Bourn, averaging 5.5 runs on 10.2 hits in those contests.

"If Bourny were here [for those 19 games], who knows?" Francona said. "We don't know if we'd have been better or not, because a lot of it goes to if a guy is hot in a short period of time. I do know that over the course of a long period of time, [being without Bourn] would certainly affect us.

"But because of Raburn -- the way he's swung the bat in the short term -- we've gotten a lot of offensive production. And Drew went out to center field and played it as good as you can and has swung the bat also. Saying that, we'll be glad to get [Bourn] back."

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.

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