KANSAS CITY -- Asdrubal Cabrera returned to the Indians' starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Royals, following a bout with back spams. The veteran shortstop is hoping the club can return to form over the final two months of the season.
Cabrera said it is important for the players to remember that the Tribe rolled to an American League Wild Card berth with a hot stretch last September.
"We've got the same team," Cabrera said on Sunday morning. "Everyone here in the clubhouse was really good. This game is not easy. It's hard. Up and down, up and down all the time. We've got to keep doing what we're doing, play hard and try to win again more like we can.
"We've got to think about last year. We've had ups and downs, too, and we won 21 games in September. That was the key. Anything can happen in the next two months. Let's see what happens."
Indians manager Terry Francona warned against leaning too much on last summer's second-half surge.
"I think you try to learn from everything. That's what we all always feel like," Francona said. "But, every year's different and you can't just bank on winning 10 and a row at the end. I think our guys are aware that, when we play good baseball, we have a good chance to win. When we don't pay attention to detail ... we make it harder for us."
In the Tribe's 10-3 rout of the Royals on Sunday, Cabrera went 2-for-5 and helped ignite a four-run outburst in the fifth inning with a one-out RBI single. On the season, the 28-year-old shortstop has hit .249 with nine home runs, 33 extra-base hits, 40 RBIs and 54 runs scored in 95 games.
Cabrera exited Monday's game in Minnesota with back spasms and then missed five games before Sunday's return. He noted that he was ready and available to play on Saturday.
"I feel good," Cabrera said on Sunday. "Yesterday, in the morning, when I woke up, I felt like I was close to start playing in a game. I came in and hit yesterday, and I felt good. I feel OK."