CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona finally said the five words that Cleveland fans have been waiting to hear.
"Bourny is ready to go," Francona said on Thursday.
Following the Tribe's 9-2 victory over the A's, the Indians announced that center fielder and leadoff man Michael Bourn has been activated from the 15-day disabled list. Bourn will be back in the starting lineup on Friday for Cleveland's road contest against the American League Central-rival Tigers.
To clear a spot on the active roster, the Indians optioned lefty reliever Scott Barnes to Triple-A Columbus.
"I've been itching to get back out there," Bourn said. "I get a chance to go out there [Friday] to play against a team that's really good."
Bourn -- signed to a four-year contract worth $48 million over the offseason -- suffered a laceration of his right index finger while sliding headfirst into first base in the eighth inning of a game against the White Sox on April 14. On the play, Chicago left-hander Matt Thornton stepped on Bourn's hand, which required five stitches and a little more than three weeks of recovery time.
Given Bourn's extended layoff and abbreviated rehab stint -- he played just two games with Triple-A Columbus -- Francona indicated that the center fielder might be eased back into the regular mix.
"We'll kind of monitor it," Francona said. "He only had two [rehab] games, and we have a doubleheader coming up [on Monday]. We have the ability to move guys around, fortunately. But, yeah, he'll play [Friday] unless something happens on the plane."
Through 10 games, Bourn has hit .333 (15-for-45) with two homers, four doubles, two RBIs and seven runs scored for the Indians.
While he was sidelined, right fielder Drew Stubbs shifted to center field and utility man Ryan Raburn moved to right field on a consistent basis. Overall, the Indians went 12-8 and scored an average of 5.6 runs per game while Bourn was on the DL.
"I know we have depth," Bourn said. "Drew moved over, and Raburn stepped in and did a heck of a job. We've got depth throughout our lineup and even throughout the infield and with the pitching. When something like that happens, we were fortunate to have guys who could [fill in]."
Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. 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.Less