On Friday, before Cleveland's three-game series against rival Detroit even started, rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis was placed on the disabled list due to a strained right hamstring.
For the Indians, the problem isn't just their unhealthy second baseman, who missed the previous three games with a strained right oblique. It's that not having Kipnis in the lineup continues Cleveland's struggles with a lack of offense.
The Indians were held to five hits in a 4-1 loss to Detroit in the first game of a three-game series between the top two teams in the AL Central. The Indians' only run of the game scored on a wild pitch.
Kipnis' oblique injury had apparently improved enough so that he was ready to play Thursday night in Chicago. But in doing his pre-game stretching Kipnis pulled his hamstring.
The loss of Kipnis for at least two weeks is a big blow for an Indians offense that has struggled to score runs for most of this season. Kipnis had given that offense a boost since his recall from Class AAA Columbus on July 27.
In 18 games prior to getting hurt, Kipnis hit .279 with four doubles, six home runs and 11 RBI in 68 at-bats. He had also played solid defense at second base.
Manager Manny Acta said to replace Kipnis at second base the Indians will use a combination of Jason Donald and Luis Valbuena, who was recalled from Class AAA Columbus on Friday. Valbuena has already had two brief stints with the Indians this season, but didn't hit much either time.
Valbuena, a left-handed hitter, will get most of the starts at second versus right-handed pitching. Donald, a right-handed hitter, will get most of the starts at second versus left-handed pitching.
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