Right shoulder injuries have altered the Indians’ blueprint to start the 2017 campaign.
Jason Kipnis (right shoulder inflammation) and Lonnie Chisenhall (right shoulder sprain) are proof for these early-season adjustments.
Over one week after Chisenhall was recalled from a rehab assignment, the Tribe activated Kipnis off the 10-day disabled list prior to Friday’s series opener against the Chicago White Sox. In a corresponding move, Yandy Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
With the transaction, manager Terry Francona will shift Jose Ramirez back to third base so Kipnis can assume his everyday duties at second base.
The two-time All-Star batted .200 (4-for-20) with two doubles and one RBI in seven contests between Akron and Columbus in the early stages of April. Kipnis set career-highs in home runs (23), runs (91), total bases (286), games (156) and at-bats (610) over the course of a historic 2016 season.
Although Diaz featured a 92.8-mph exit velocity, the 15th highest mark in the big leagues, he will return to the minors to get consistent playing time alongside Giovanny Urshela at the hot corner and Richie Shaffer in left field. Only one of the Diaz’s 13 base knocks was an extra-base hit as he batted .236 (13-for-55) with two RBIs in 15 games played.
Kipnis will bat sixth in his 2017 debut while Diaz will join the Clippers for Game 2 of their weekend set with the Buffalo Bisons on Saturday.
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.