Francona optimistic after Raburn's pregame
Indians utility man still out of lineup while nursing calf, heel soreness
ATLANTA -- Ryan Raburn has avoided the disabled list for another day, but the Indians utility man continues to be bothered by right calf and left heel soreness.
Prior to Tuesday's game against the Braves, Raburn did some running drills in left field and took part in batting practice, but he remained out of the starting lineup for the 14th time in the past 17 games. Manager Terry Francona was optimistic that Raburn would make his return soon.
"He did well today," Francona said. "I'm thinking that he's probably available. We wanted it -- when we got him available -- we wanted to make sure that we could hit him and leave him in to play or run. I think we're there, but we'll watch him."
If Cleveland changed course, and opted to place Raburn on the 15-day disabled list, he would be eligible to be activated on Sept. 3. The Indians could backdate the stint on the shelf to the team's tilt against the A's on Aug. 18, when Raburn last appeared in a game for the Tribe.
Raburn said being placed on the disabled list remained a possibility.
"It's pretty close," Raburn said. "We're just trying to weigh the best options and the other thing is we don't want to put it at a point where I get reinjured and I'm hurt the rest of the year. We've got some big games coming up."
That said, Raburn hoped to feel improved enough to possibly start on Wednesday, when the Braves plan to send lefty Paul Maholm to the mound.
Entering Tuesday's action, Raburn ranked first in the Majors in home runs (15) among players with no more than 250 at-bats. Among those with no more than 300 at-bats, only Atlanta's Brian McCann (18 homers) and Evan Gattis (15) had at least as many long balls as Raburn did for the Indians.
Through 71 games, Raburn has hit .272 with 29 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs for Cleveland.
"From where it was when it first happened, it feels a lot better," said Raburn, who has been bothered by the calf issue for most of this season. "I don't want to keep this team on the edge, where they're still down another guy for six more days. As good as these guys play every day, they need a breather every once in a while.
"For me not to be able to give them a break, I think that upsets me more than anything."
Season over for Indians top prospect Lindor
ATLANTA -- With only seven games remaining on the schedule for Double-A Akron, the Indians do not feel it makes sense to take any chances with shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor.
Cleveland has decided to shut Lindor down for the rest of the season due to a lower back injury, which has kept the organization's top prospect sidelined for much of the past three weeks. The Indians believe that rest, and not surgery, is all that the 19-year-old requires for recovery.
"There's no need to push it," said Indians assistant director of player development Carter Hawkins. "For any player, when they get hurt, it's frustrating. They want to help their team win, but he also understands that there's a process he just has to go through.
"This is just another thing that he'll have to work through to get to the big leagues. The good thing -- if there is any silver lining -- it's that the timing is pretty good for it."
Lindor, who was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, will get an early start to his offseason, using the first couple months to rest his back in preparation for next year. Hawkins noted that there was not one incident that caused the injury, but that it developed gradually over time this season.
In 104 games between Class A (high) Carolina and Double-A Akron this season, the switch-hitting Lindor posted a slash line of .303/.380/.407 to go along with two home runs and 34 RBIs. Along the way, he collected 22 doubles, seven triples, 25 stolen bases and 65 runs, ending with more walks (49) than strikeouts (46).
Lindor hit .289 with five extra-base hits, five stolen bases, seven RBIs and 14 runs in 21 games after being promoted to Double-A.
"He had an outstanding year," said Hawkins, who is with the Indians in Atlanta. "It was great. It was great to see how well he did when he got to Akron, too."
Naquin among Tribe's representatives in AFL
ATLANTA -- The Arizona Fall League will feature a handful of standouts from within the Indians' farm system this year. Heading the Cleveland class will be outfielder Tyler Naquin.
Naquin, who was the Tribe's first-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, will join catcher Tony Wolters and second baseman Joe Wendle with the Surprise Saquaros. Class A (low) Lake County pitching coach Steve Karsay fill also fill the same role for the AFL's Surprise squad. Catcher Jake Lowery will suit up for the Peoria Javelinas.
The Indians have yet to announce the participating pitchers from their affiliates.
There will be plenty of eyes on Naquin during his first taste of the AFL.
"He had a great start to his career," said Indians assistant director of player development Carter Hawkins. "He really bought in to the process and has made adjustments to be successful at the upper levels. He's played hard all year and we feel like this is just a natural progression from [Double-A] Akron to see this competition.
"We feel like he'll be really successful out there and it can springboard him into next year."
Naquin, 22, has spent 119 games between Class A (high) Carolina and Double-A this season, hitting .273 with a .341 on-base percentage and a .419 slugging percentage. Entering Tuesday, the outfielder had 10 homers, 46 extra-base hits, 15 stolen bases, 48 RBIs and 76 runs on offense, and 11 assists from center field.
Wendle has hit .295 with 15 homers and 59 RBIs through 100 games for Class A Carolina, while Lowery has posted a .264 average with 31 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs through 78 games between Carolina and Akron. Wolters, who has hit .283 with 16 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 75 games at Carolina this year, is continuing a transition to catcher from the middle infield.
"The more we can get him back behind the dish, the better he's going to be," Hawkins said. "And the more he can be around older players, and guys that really know what it's like to play that position at the upper levels, the better it's going to be for him. We certainly think he can handle the competition."
Quote to note
"Honestly? I think it's very important. It'll tell what kind of team we have. We're playing some tough teams. We're playing some teams that are fighting for the playoffs. It's a test. You always go through that test throughout a year. ... You have to face those teams, take them on and try to beat them. None of these teams are going to be easy."
--Outfielder Michael Bourn, on facing Atlanta, Detroit and Baltimore over the next nine games.
• Indians center fielder Michael Bourn, who signed a four-year contract worth $48 million over the offseason, spent parts of the previous two seasons with the Braves. Bourn was happy to be back in Atlanta to see his old teammates and face his former team.
"I had fun while I was here," Bourn said. "We had a good team both years. One year we didn't make it [to the playoffs] and one year we did, but we lost in the first round. But we enjoyed ourselves and had good camaraderie on the team. I enjoyed all of it."
• Indians starter Corey Kluber, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right middle finger since Aug. 6, threw fastballs and changeups off a mound in a bullpen session on Monday. The righty added sliders and cutters during a flat-ground throwing workout Tuesday, and will return to the mound on Wednesday.
"He had good command and no problems," said Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway, referring to Kluber's latest mound session. "I think it went better than we probably could've imagined."
• Indians right-hander Brett Myers -- sidelined since late April with a right elbow injury -- logged one shutout inning of relief with a pair of strikeouts in a Minor League rehab outing for Double-A Akron on Monday. Indians manager Terry Francona said Myers still needs more appearances in the Minors before possibly being activated from the 60-day disabled list.
• On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A (high) Carolina right-hander Joe Colon the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for Aug. 19-26. On Thursday, the 23-year-old Colon turned in seven shutout innings with five strikeouts and no walks in a win over Lynchburg, which went just 4-for-24 at the plate against the righty.