Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis spent Memorial Day weekend on rehab assignment with the Columbus Clippers to prepare for his return from the 15-day disabled list this week.
“Down here we’re getting healthy and going through the necessary stages to get back in the lineup,” Kipnis said. “The game of baseball is not something you can just jump back into especially when you’ve taken a certain amount of time off. So we’re going to get some at-bats in, start with five or seven innings [Friday] and work our way up to a nine-inning game.”
Kipnis has been absent from the Indians’ lineup for three weeks after straining his abdominal muscles in the May 1 game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He made his first appearance since the injury this past Friday in Columbus.
The second baseman took his first steps onto the field at Huntington Park on Friday against the Durham Bulls. Kipnis started the game at second base for the Clippers on Friday, but saw two at-bats in the five innings he played, in which he recorded an RBI, but did not get on base. The Northbrook, Illinois-native looked fresh in the field with a performance that included a 6-4-3 double-play collaboration with shortstop Ryan Rohlinger and first baseman Jesus Aguilar. The Bulls came away with a 3-1 win against the Clippers.
Saturday was Kipnis’ best performance in his short rehab stint with the Clippers. During the second game against Durham, Kipnis hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning against Bulls pitcher Nate Kearns, who later earned the win for the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate. Despite Kipnis’ home run, the Clippers fell to Durham again after giving up the one-run lead in the fifth inning and three more runs before the end of the game to put the Bulls ahead 5-2 at the conclusion of the game.
His rehab assignment was the first time Kipnis played in Columbus since 2011 where he was a staple in 92 games for the Clippers during their second-consecutive Triple-A National Championship season.
“I forgot how much I like this park,” Kipnis said. “It’s a great ballpark to play in, one of the best in Triple-A and one of the better cities to be in.”
After an off-day on Sunday, Kipnis is slated to make a full nine-inning start in Columbus today against the Charlotte Knights before traveling to Chicago to rejoin the Indians against the White Sox on Tuesday.
The Clippers continue its home stand this with four games against the Charlotte Knights and three games, including a Saturday doubleheader against the Louisville Bats before hitting the road again next week.
Photo: Columbus Clippers