Kipnis could return to the Indians lineup as an outfielder following Zimmer injury
Kipnis has never played outfield in the majors
The red-hot Indians are hosting the Detroit Tigers on Monday night (Live Game Tracker).
Now, it looks like the Indians might be using the outfield to slot in another hitter who would otherwise be without a position. That's because Jason Kipnis is expected to see action in center field once he returns from the disabled list (strained hamstring), per MLB.com's Jordan Bastian:
The main thing is just to get back and get healthy. I can't do anything or I can't help anyone if I don't do that first. But then, once we get back, I mean, the competitor in me just likes to be on the field. If it means I have to be in center, then I have to be in center. I just want to play. I thought about it for a second after Zimmer went down. And then Tito said he wanted to talk today, and I wasn't sure, and then it kind of hit me right before the meeting. I was like, 'He might actually ask me about this.' And it happened. You just kind of take it in stride. I think me and him, we'll see how it goes here these first couple days. They want to see it.
The Indians, of course, lost incumbent center fielder Bradley Zimmer to a . Manager Terry Francona seems disinclined to bench the Yandy Diaz-Erik Gonzalez combination that's been doing fine work at the keystone, so Kipnis is essentially slotting in where he can.
It's unclear whether Kipnis has the ability to be a tolerable option in center. He's never played the outfield during his big-league career, though he did see 25 games in the outfield back in the minors in 2009, including seven in center field. Kipnis has hit .228/.285/.409 for the season -- marks well below his career norms.
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