KANSAS CITY -- It was uncharacterstic of Jason Kipnis to not hustle to first base on the final play of Saturday's loss to the Royals. The Indians second baseman knew he made a mental gaffe and made sure he apologized to manager Terry Francona.
"He came in and said he was sorry," Francona said on Sunday. "I thought that took a lot of class. It means he cares. When guys don't always run, it doesn't mean they don't care. Sometimes it's frustration. It's human. You live and learn."
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning in Cleveland's 3-2 loss to Kansas City, Kipnis offered at a curveball from Royals closer Greg Holland for strike three. Michael Brantley was on third base for the Tribe, representing the potential tying run, and the looping pitch from Holland skipped away from Royals catcher Salvador Perez.
In a moment of frustration, Kipnis looked up at the sky instead of running to first base to force a throw from Perez. By the time Cleveland's second baseman looked down and realized his mistake, it was too late. Perez tagged Kipnis for the game's final out.
"I looked up," Kipnis said. "When I looked back, he was already running at me with the ball."
In all likelihood, the Royals would have still won the game even if Kipnis had sprinted out of the batter's box. Even so, the second baseman felt the need to apologize to Francona and to his teammates following the loss.
"Regardless, you need to not look up, not straight look up, and not worry about the calls," Kipnis said. "The play wasn't over, obviously. Whether I knew it or not, my first reaction has to be to see a curveball down. I have to see if it got by him."
Given Kipnis' history of being an aggressive baserunner, Francona was understanding about the play.
"I think he felt bad," Francona said. "Again, I understand what happened. Like I said [Saturday] night, he's a hard-nosed player. You've seen him the way he runs to first. He runs to first base like it's his last at-bat, which, as a manager, that's something you're really proud of guys about."
Indians place Marson on DL, recall Gomes
KANSAS CITY -- The Indians made a pair of roster moves prior to Sunday's doubleheader with the Royals.
Cleveland placed backup catcher Lou Marson on the 15-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right shoulder and recalled catcher Yan Gomes from Triple-A Columbus as his replacement. The Indians also called up lefty Scott Barnes from Triple-A to serve as the 26th man for the twin bill at Kauffman Stadium.
This marks Marson's second trip to the disabled list this season for the Tribe. The catcher was activated on Wednesday following a bout with a strained neck, which he sustained in a collision at home plate on April 6. Marson has been limited to three games this year due to injuries.
"He tried to work through it during the spring," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Marson's arm injury. "I know he had it last year, which a lot of guys do. And then when he got hit [on April 6], that didn't help. He's battling a couple things. First, his neck hurts. And then his routine was thrown off with his throwing. We sat down and talked to him and we're like, 'Hey, man. This isn't fair.'
"His big strength is catching and throwing. I looked at his numbers from years past, he was always among the league leaders. So we need to try to get him back to that, in fairness to him. He was willing to try to work through it, because he's kind of a hard-nosed kid and he prides himself on that. But I know what we did is right."
Gomes -- acquired by Cleveland in an offseason trade with the Blue Jays -- filled in for Marson during the backup's previous stint on the DL. In six games for the Tribe, the 25-year-old Gomes hit .211 with two home runs and three RBIs. Gomes also posted a 3.52 catcher's ERA and threw out the only two runners to attempt a stolen base against him.
"Whatever we've thrown at him, he's handled," said Francona, referring to Gomes. "We still have to walk that balance of we're trying to win here, obviously, and balance his development."
Gomes was happy to be back with the Indians, even knowing that playing every day in the Minors -- as opposed to sporadically in the Majors -- is good for his long-term success.
"I feel like you're in a way going to get your best experience by being up here," Gomes said. "But if it's the development stage, it's definitely good to play every day. You just can't [treat] it [like you're] a backup guy. You've still got to work hard every day kind of as if you're a starter, talking to the pitching staff every day and hitting. You've got to do work every day as if you're playing every game."
Barnes gives the Indians added bullpen depth for Sunday's doubleheader, which was scheduled following a rainout of Friday night's game at Kauffman Stadium. Under the guidelines of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team can carry 26 players for a twin bill. Barnes will likely be sent back to Triple-A after the doubleheader.
In seven games for Columbus this year, Barnes is 2-0 with a 4.70 ERA and eight strikeouts against five walks in 7 2/3 innings. Last season with the Indians, the 25-year-old lefty posted a 4.26 ERA in 16 appearances, including nine scoreless innings in his final nine outings down the stretch in September.
Swisher flexible enough to play first or right
KANSAS CITY -- Shifting back and forth between first base and right field lately has been a physical challenge for Nick Swisher. He would probably prefer to remain at one position on a full-time basis, but Swisher also understands the Indians need his versatility right now.
"I don't think it's the easiest thing for him," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Sunday. "He made the comment to me the other day, 'Sometimes you've got to do the dishes.' It was a good comment. He gets it. He tries very hard to do what's right for our team, which I appreciate like you can't believe."
For Sunday's doubleheader with the Royals, Swisher served as the designated hitter for Game 1 and moved to first base for the nightcap at Kauffman Stadium. Ever since center fielder Michael Bourn landed on the disabled list with a right index finger injury, forcing Drew Stubbs to move from right to center field, Swisher has also pitched in as a right fielder.
Francona has made sure to notify Swisher of where he was going to be playing on the field a game or two ahead of time. Even so, moving from first base to right field is not easy on a player's arm.
"No, I think it's hard on him a little bit," Francona said. "And I understand that. He does it, which I admire and appreciate."
Over the past 10 games, Swisher has manned right field in five games and worked at first base (his preferred position) for two contests. Francona has also mixed in three starts over that span at DH for Swisher, who signed a four-year deal worth $56 million over the winter. Swisher has also benefited from three days off (the Tribe had games rained out on Tuesday and Friday, plus a scheduled off-day on Thursday) in the past week.
"I want to do whatever [Francona] needs me to do, whatever makes this team better," Swisher said. "With the relationship that I have with him, and the communication that he has, he definitely lets you know a little earlier. But it's definitely a lot different being at first base than it is out there in right field. At first base, it's easy to make that nice little quick throw. Then you go out to the outfield, you've got to let that thing rip.
"Either way, we've been fighting. Obviously, not having Bourn for these two weeks has been a big blow for us."
Quote to note
"I wouldn't say I'm at that spot yet. I haven't perfected it, but I feel like I've got a better feel for it, for being able to come off the bench. Now, I'm not trying to do too much. It's doing what you're supposed to do at that time"
--Indians catcher Yan Gomes, when asked if he was comfortable working as a backup.
• Indians center fielder Michael Bourn, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right index finger injury, continued his gradual progression through baseball activities on Sunday. Bourn has been playing light catch and Cleveland manager Terry Francona said the outfielder was scheduled to possibly hit off a tee on Sunday. Bourn is eligible to be activated on Tuesday, but will likely need more time.
"I don't think he's quite as comfortable as he'd like to be," Francona said. "Knowing him, he wanted to like pick it up and go. So I kind of grabbed him [on Saturday] and said, 'The artificial timetable of when you come off the DL, that's all it is. We'll just get you back when you're ready.' He's trying his [butt] off. It's not like we have to push him."
• Due to the doubleheader on Sunday, the Indians will need to promote a starter from the Minor Leagues for Wednesday's game against the Phillies. Triple-A Columbus right-hander Trevor Bauer seems like a realistic possibility, but Francona was not about to tip his hand.
"I don't mind you asking, but that's just not a healthy way to [operate]," Francona said. "We're just not ready [announce the move]. Any time it entails roster moves and stuff, I just think it's a more respectful way to just handle it when you're supposed to handle it."
• Heading into Sunday's action, the Indians' bullpen ranked third in the American League with a 2.74 ERA, trailing only the Orioles (2.34 ERA) and Twins (2.52 ERA). Cleveland's starting rotation, on the other hand, was ranked last in the American League with a 5.47 ERA as a group.