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Francona looks to rest starters over tough stretch

Francona looks to rest starters over tough stretch

Francona looks to rest starters over tough stretch

CHICAGO -- Cleveland manager Terry Francona is doing his best to keep his players healthy yet productive during a difficult stretch of his team's schedule. After a long game on Thursday that included a 78-minute rain delay in the seventh inning, the Indians play four games in three days in Chicago. As a result, Francona said he hopes to find his regulars rest over the weekend and only play them in three of the four games.

"I'm not nervous. I think I have a responsibility to take care of our guys," Francona said. "We need to win as many as we can, and try to keep it in perspective where you don't get greedy and get a guy hurt. We'll just try to mix and match as best we can."

The Indians have an off-day on Monday, so Francona plans to sit hot-hitting second baseman Jason Kipnis and center fielder Michael Bourn on Sunday to allow for two days of rest for two of his major producers. Bourn was not in the lineup for the first game of a doubleheader on Friday, because the White Sox started left-hander Hector Santiago. Francona said Drew Stubbs' right-handed bat might match up better against Chicago's starter, and he noticed Bourn appeared tired on Thursday in Baltimore.

"I think Bourn gets tired because he plays center field and he's not the biggest guy in the world," Francona said. "I was going to play him both games today. I told him after the rain delay, 'Bourn, that doesn't make sense to me. You look like you could use a little blow.'

"It's because he's always ready. He can come in and help us win a game that way, and he was OK with that."

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, and he was in the lineup for the early game of Friday's doubleheader. Francona said it's unlikely he'll play both games.

Indians outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher did not play in Thursday's game with a sore shoulder, but he was back in the lineup hitting fourth for Game 1 against Chicago. Francona said he'd monitor how Swisher is feeling before deciding whether he'll play both games on Friday.

Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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