CLEVELAND -- Manager Terry Francona and Trevor Bauer continue to have different outlooks regarding the right-hander’s return from a stress fracture in his lower-right leg.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to Francona.
“I don’t think we want to hold him back,” Francona said. “As long as he’s not hurting himself. We love the fact that he’s pushing. That’s what most guys do. They want to play.
“Like we said all along, he’s going to push, push, push in a good way. In the meantime, he’s just got to heal. But I think we all know his arm is going to be in great shape when the time comes.”
Bauer said he has been without a walking boot for at least a week and that he threw off the mound at Progressive Field during the off-day Monday.
“I felt fine. I’m still conscious that it’s there, obviously, but everything feels fine,” he said prior to Tuesday’s series opener against Minnesota.
Bauer was asked if he felt as though he was ahead of schedule.
“That’s a great question. I don’t know. Talk to the trainers,” he said. “We know what the MRI said and we know what the recovery protocol is. We’ll get imaged at some point and we’ll see.”
Francona said Bauer would miss 4-6 weeks after being placed on the disabled list Aug. 14. Bauer has maintained that it wouldn’t take that long and has approached his rehab with vigor -- bordering on anger -- since being struck by a line drive from Jose Abreu on Aug. 11 in Chicago.
“The one thing I’m better at than anybody else is the one thing keeping me out right now, through no fault of my own,” said Bauer, who was a Cy Young candidate before the injury struck. “So it (ticks) me off. Staying on the field. Taking care of my body. Being durable. I hit the DL because I got hit on a freaking line drive, not because I can’t handle a workload or take care of my shoulder or I’m lazy with my recovery or whatever.
“So, I’m just sitting here and all of my personal season goals are slowly drifting away because I took a (freaking) line drive off the ankle. It (ticks) me off.”
With regular seasons coming to an end in the minor leagues, there may not be a suitable spot available for Bauer to make a rehab assignment.
“We have a number of teams that are potentially playoff-bound. They’re right on the cusp of making it or not. So that always helps,” Francona said. “In Trevor’s instance, there may not be games. But if his arm is in shape, maybe he only pitches for us. That would be the best (scenario) -- I think, if he pitches for us couple-three times before the season is over. That would be terrific. I don’t know if that’s going to be the case or not.”
They have to check him before they give him the go-ahead. But I don’t think that’s for a little while yet. I just don’t think it’s reasonable. You know, it’s too early still.”
Strength in numbers
Francona is looking forward to roster expansion in September, but with a hitch.
“I still wish there was a uniform number every night,” he said. “I don’t think they should stop it at a certain number, but I think every night you should have to have a roster for that game. Then there would be a little bit of strategy involved. You wouldn’t be taking away from guys getting called up. But you wouldn’t have the pitching moves constantly.
“We’ve used it to our advantage before, we’ve had teams use it against us. Just seems a little odd to have not uniform numbers. So, we’re trying to balance never being short. Especially pitching. But also, not just having a bunch of guys sitting around.”
Francona said the Indians would add players Sept. 1 on the first day rosters can expand to 40 players.
“We’ll certainly bring up an extra pitcher or catcher and maybe an infielder,” he said. “And then after that, we may do it one at a time. You don’t want to just take away from the Triple-A team, but we don’t ever want to be short, either.”
Francona is also in favor of an expanded roster during the first month of the season.
“You come out of spring training and every team has those last couple cuts. It’s hard,” he said. “So one guy makes the team, you have to let somebody else go (and) they’re going to look for a job. And then two weeks into the season, because your starters aren’t lengthened out, you’re looking for that same guy. I just think it would make a lot of sense.”
- Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (left calf strain) is at the team’s spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. He has begun participating in baseball activities.
- Reliever Neil Ramirez (lower-back spasms) is scheduled to make a rehab appearance with Double-A Akron today, then make another one for Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
- Francona expects outfielder Rajai Davis (non-baseball medical condition) to be activated at the end of his stint on the 10-day DL.
- Outfielder Tyler Naquin (right hip strain) has been running on the treadmill and, “doing really well,” according to Francona. Naquin has been sidelined since July 28.
- Reliever Nick Goody is scheduled to undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow Friday in Texas.
Home is sweet
A rare off-day at home Monday came at a good time, according to Francona, who said his team looked -- “a little bit ragged” -- at the end of its recent road trip.
“I felt it and I don’t do much. When I feel it, I know they’re probably feeling it,” said Francona, whose team had played 13 of its last 16 games through Tuesday on the road. “I think it’s the lull. It can’t ever be an excuse to lose, but I just think that’s the way the game is. We played four games at Fenway with a lot of emotion, the atmosphere. We try to keep an eye on it, but sometimes you just gotta play through it.”
An inside-the-park home run is a rare sight in itself. When the player crosses home plate standing -- as second baseman Jason Kipnis did Sunday in Kansas City, it’s even more surprising.
“I think Kip was too tired to slide,” Francona joked.
Yan Gomes was batting .365 in August, accounting for the highest average among AL catchers through Monday. ... Greg Allen entered Tuesday having hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games. Allen was batting .328 in August, which was tied with Melky Cabrera for the seventh-highest average among AL outfielders through Monday. Cabrera entered Tuesday batting .400 with five homers, 15 RBIs and 11 runs over his last 14 games, leading the Indians in each category since Aug. 12. ... Wednesday, 7:10, STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM. Plutko (4-4, 5.09) vs. Stewart (0-1, 6.94).