Jason Kipnis will miss the next “couple weeks” due to a strained rotator cuff injury that has limited him to just five at-bats this spring.
Kipnis received a cortisone shot in the ailing shoulder on February 28 and he did not make his spring debut until last Thursday when he went 1-for-3 against the Los Angeles Angels as the Tribe’s designated hitter. He played the next day, again as a DH, but has now been shut down for the remainder of spring training.
Manager Terry Francona assured reporters today that nothing has gotten worse with Kip’s injury. Given the fact that Kipnis was supposed to be given a cortisone shot, sat for less than a week and be “raring to go” when he got returned, I’m going to either flat-out call bullshit on that statement or I’m concerned the Cleveland Indians’ medical staff severely underestimated the injury to begin with.
By effectively ruling out Kipnis for Opening Day, this is beyond sitting for spring games because they don’t matter — he is missing real games because of it now. There is still no reason to panic about the injury, or to consider him Grady Sizemore/Michael Brantley 2.0, but at this point I’m done taking whatever the Indians say about the injury at face value. There will always be a mild uneasiness about the whole thing until he is playing everyday again.
Until that time, it will be on the shoulders or Erik Gonzalez or (sigh) Michael Martinez to step up and take his place for at least a couple regular season games. Yandy Diaz could potentially be another option — if anything, to play at third and let Jose Ramirez play second — but his own injury has limited his time on the field in March.