CLEVELAND -- No other Indians player has a role as well-defined as Michael Bourn's. When Bourn is in the starting lineup, you can be sure that he will be batting leadoff and playing center field.
That has been the case in 122 of the Tribe's 157 games before Wednesday. But Bourn was removed before the ninth inning of Tuesday's game because of a mild right wrist sprain he sustained in the fifth. He was not in the lineup for the finale of a two-game series with the White Sox on Wednesday, the Tribe's last home game of the regular season.
Arguing that he could play, Bourn voiced his case to Indians manager Terry Francona, who decided to keep him on the bench anyway. Francona told reporters that Bourn's status was day to day.
"He's a tough little kid, man," said Francona, who stated that Bourn was available to pinch-run on Wednesday. "I just think that giving him a day to take a blow and let him get some treatment all day [will be good]. I know where we're at in the standings. I get all that. I just think we're best served by letting him get some treatment, so when he does play, he can be Bourny and not part of Bourny. But I do like his attitude. I love his attitude."
Bourn's injury affects the same hand that forced him to miss 21 games between April 16 and May 9. At the time, a lacerated right index finger was the reason he couldn't play. The only other time this season where Bourn has missed consecutive games was the period of June 30-July 2, when he was on the paternity list.
"I think it's OK," Bourn said of his wrist. "I don't think it's anything serious."
Bourn has played in 127 games this season. In that span, he's batting .260 with a .314 on-base percentage. He has 21 doubles, five triples and six home runs, with 23 stolen bases in 34 attempts.
In games Bourn doesn't start, the Indians are 23-12. He's confident they can continue winning while he's out.
"I feel good about that," Bourn said. "That's the reason I have to try to be precautionary. I want to play, but we'll see what goes on and then from there, we'll take it one step at a time."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.