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Bourn and Giambi Close to Returning to Cleveland

Bourn and Giambi Close to Returning to Cleveland

| On 12, Apr 2014

The Indians are now almost two weeks into the season, and they are still without leadoff man Michael Bourn, and proven leader and the master of walk-offs Jason Giambi. Both players were hampered by injuries during spring training. Bourn suffered an injury to his hamstring in the final week of the spring, while Giambi was hit by a pitch from Edwin Jackson early in camp. The Indians have had to use some replacement players to fill in the roles of these missing players. Nyjer Morgan and Lonnie Chisenhall have both done well with their extra playing time.

After both missing time in spring training, Bourn and Giambi are now on their own rehab assignments with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks. Bourn began his rehab assignment in Triple-A Columbus, but began his assignment in Akron on Thursday, April 10, and went 0-4 and reached base by an error. At the end of the 2013 season, Bourn suffered a left hamstring injury in the last game of the 2013 season. He eventually had to have surgery on that hamstring during the offseason.

On Friday, April 11, Bourn again played a rehab game for Double-A Akron. He led off the game with a single and a couple of very nice plays center field. It seems like Michael Bourn has completely comfortable movement again.

“It felt good,” says Bourn about his outing. “I’m going to play one more game here before going to Cleveland to make sure everything is going right. I made a good play today. Timing feels better. I’m just taking it one step at a time, but I just want to make sure it feels 100% before I go. I don’t want to take any steps back.”

After his first at bat, Bourn was able to test out his legs by stealing a base.

“I wanted to test it out,” explains Bourn about stealing second. “I had it on my mind. I hadn’t been able to do it all spring training. That’s always something I want to do and be able to do it. Not something I want to have to think about, and I was able to do that and take the steps forward. I hope to be back on the team as soon as possible.”

Bourn hopes to return to the lineup sometime soon, but he’s not exactly sure when it will be.

For Giambi, he’s been sitting out for about three weeks now after being hit in the ribs by a pitch from Jackson. The injury impeded him from being able to swing the bat and had him not actively participating in baseball activities. Friday night was his first rehab assignment with Double-A Akron. He ended the night with two strike outs and a walk, but this was a step in the right direction for Giambi.

“I feel good, no pain at all,” explained Giambi. “It was nice to get out there and see somebody throw from 60-feet. Every pitch I’ve seen has been in the cages at 50-feet. It was nice to see somebody change some speeds and be under the lights. It felt great.”

The big thing for Giambi is just to get healthy and get back to the club. With Giambi being the veteran presence in the ball club, it’s important that he comes back ready to go. Although, it’s not worth it to rush him back to the team and have him get hurt again. He may provide a small offensive role, but it’s still important to the team.

“Being 43 that’s all I can really do. In my mind I think I could still play every single day, but my body says ‘Oh that’s not going to happen.’”

In Giambi’s second at bat, Bourn was on base along with top prospect Francisco Lindor. Being able to look at the diamond, it was like seeing three generations of ball players all at once. Giambi has had some time to play with Lindor now and really experience the kind of player he is, and can see what kind of player he will become.

“Lindor’s going to be something special,” Giambi said.

For Giambi, he’s still not ready to give up on playing baseball. He believes that he can still contribute to this club, and he’s not too worried about what he’ll be doing in his future. “I like right here, right now. I don’t like to think about the future. If you start to worry about the future, then this is over right now. I’m going to enjoy every minute I can playing.”

After seeing how Giambi had affected the 2013 Indians team as basically a player/coach, he believes that he can still provide that role. Having Giambi in this role helps him not only contribute to the big league club offensively, but also in the clubhouse for guys that are still developing.

“When you can go and compete and make a difference on the ball club, you definitely have the respect level of your teammates,” Giambi said. “If I wanna coach, then I’ll go coach. I still want to contribute, and that’s why I’m still playing. That’s what I can still offer to the ball club, whether it’s coming off the bench, or playing here and there maybe once, twice, or three times a week. But also be there for these guys, the [Jason] Kipneses, the [Nick] Swishers, the Michael Bourns. Help them be the next super stars of the game.”

Giambi is scheduled to play one more game on Sunday with the RubberDucks, and hopefully he will soon be returning to the Indians lineup. With Bourn and Giambi close to being ready to go back to the big league club, the Indians are anxiously awaiting their return. The Indians are a better team with the two of them on the roster, and Bourn and Giambi are ready to be back.

Photo: Kevin Schiely/Ohio.com