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Jason Kipnis nearing rehab assignment on Sunday

A revamped infield structure is about to return to its traditional form thanks to Jason Kipnis' encouraging progress in his rehabilitation from a sore right shoulder.

It has only been four games, but Jason Kipnis is chomping at the bit to return to game action.

The two-time All-Star second baseman is reportedly in line to start a rehab assignment on Sunday with the Akron RubberDucks, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

Kipnis was diagnosed with a strained right rotator cuff on February 23, scratched from the club's spring training lineup on March 12 and eventually shut down for two weeks due to lingering right shoulder soreness. His timeline for recovery is nearing its culmination.

"We still have to get him out there where he can play back-to-back games defensively," said manager Terry Francona to reporters on Friday. "But I don't think that's going to take forever."

In 2016, Kipnis slashed .275/.343/.469 with career-highs in runs (91), home runs (23), total bases (286) and games played (156). The former second round pick out of Arizona State was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to March 30, his fourth career trip to the DL.

"It feels 100 percent," Kipnis said following a morning workout with the team at Chase Field. "I'm really happy where I'm at right now."

While Francona and the Tribe's training staff has taken a conservative approach with Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall (sprained right AC joint) in the early stages of April, they plan to have both of the franchise favorites back on the field in the coming weeks.

"I'm bored out of my mind," said Kipnis. "Everyone has started. Everyone is already having fun. It's my job to make sure I'm healthy and put this behind us."

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.

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