The Cleveland Indians are looking to get back to the World Series this season, and they’re going to have to start that journey without their starting second baseman. Jason Kipnis will miss several more weeks with a nagging shoulder issue.

Kipnis has been limited to only two Cactus League games this spring due to the shoulder inflammation. He’s had similar shoulder problems in previous springs, though this time around it’s much more serious. Kipnis would typically rest a few days and be good as new in previous years.

Last season Kipnis hit .275/.343/.469 (107 OPS+) with 23 doubles and 15 stolen bases while playing in 156 games. He was one of the club’s most productive players and one of the best second basemen in all of baseball. Now it seems he’ll be out until at least mid-April, if not longer.

Jason Kipnis will miss another month or so with a nagging shoulder issue. USATSI

With Kipnis out, the Indians could slide Jose Ramirez over to second base and play Giovanny Urshela at third. Utility infielder candidates Erik Gonzalez, Michael Martinez, and Ronny Rodriguez are other possible second base options. Should Cleveland be inclined to go outside the organization for help, Kelly Johnson remains unsigned and the Yankees have dangled Rob Refsnyder in trade talks.

Losing Kipnis hurts, there’s no doubt about that, but the Indians remain an excellent ballclub with a deep lineup. Expect them to play it safe with Kipnis early in the season to make sure his shoulder gets right. They’d rather have him miss a few games in April than a lot of games later in the season, when they’re making a push for the playoffs.

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