NEW YORK -- Indians manager Manny Acta warns people not to count his team out, despite the Indians' slide over the last couple of weeks.
He also warns people not to count out the Twins.
"They won last year," Acta said Monday. "The division still has to go through Minnesota. Anyone in our division could still win it by 10 or get buried by 30."
The Indians opened play Monday tied with the Tigers atop the AL Central, with the White Sox 3 1/2 games behind. The Indians, who have lost four in a row and nine of their last 10, open a three-game series in Detroit on Tuesday.
"You're not a fluke for 2 1/2 months if you're in first place," Acta said. "We built up that lead. We'll be back again playing better. I guess that's an understatement."
The Indians should get help when Travis Hafner returns from the disabled list, probably late this week. Hafner, out since May 18 with an oblique injury, is set to begin a rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Akron on Tuesday.
Acta wouldn't say how soon Hafner will be back, but Hafner said the team told him they wanted him to spend three or four days in the minors before returning.
The Indians have struggled to score runs in Hafner's absence, so Acta shook up his lineup Monday, putting Grady Sizemore back in the leadoff spot and batting Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera third and fourth.
"Those two guys have been the most consistent," Acta explained. "I wanted to have our best hitters hit in the middle of the lineup."