CLEVELAND — A sore left shoulder may plague Nick Swisher the rest of the season, but it isn’t enough to land him on the disabled list at this point.
Manager Terry Francona said Swisher underwent an MRI on Sunday and received a cortisone injection Monday, and that there were no structural changes to a shoulder that has bothered the first baseman for much of the season.
The Indians are pointing at Friday for Swisher’s return.
“The hope is that just like the last time, two or three days -- with maintenance moving forward, he’ll be able to kind of stay ahead of himself,” Francona said of Swisher, who missed his second straight game Monday. “We’ll go all off him and the symptoms. It’s all depending on how he feels. If he feels better and the medical staff OKs it, then we’ll play him before.”
Francona admitted that a trip to the DL is possible for Swisher, who is hitting .237 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 61 games -- but only as a last resort.
“I don’t think that’s our first choice,” he said. “Two to three days out is our first hope, and I think that’s realistic.”
Swisher first started dealing with shoulder issues shortly after an extended stint in right field early in the season, something Francona has avoided since. Swisher told reporters Saturday that he felt pain while swinging.
“When you aggravate those things, they hurt,” Francona said. “That’s the way it is. I don’t think it helped (his swing). To what extent (it affected it) and to where, it’s hard to tell. Guys get banged up so often.”
Francona was asked if Swisher’s shoulder would require surgery at the end of the year.
“I don’t know,” he said. “There were no changes structurally, which is good. It just might be something that he has to stay on top of it. As long as that’s the case, he should be OK.”
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis and starting pitcher Corey Kluber were named American League co-Players of the Week (ending Sunday).
Kipnis batted .524 (11-for-21) with a homer and four RBIs in six games, leading the AL in batting average and on-base percentage (.593) over the span. Kluber went 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and 11 strikeouts over 16 innings of two starts.
“I think that’s cool. I think that gives me the opportunity to brag about these guys, which I love to do,” Francona said. “Corey is right in front of our eyes getting better, and Kip got through that rough patch at the beginning of the year and has been such an impact player for us. He just has that aggressive style that really helps us win games.”
Right-hander Chris Perez will pitch one more minor league rehab outing — a scheduled one-inning appearance Tuesday at Double-A Akron — and told reporters Monday that he expected to be activated from the DL on Friday.
According to Francona, Perez will return to his closer job, with Vinnie Pestano moving back to the setup role.
“(Perez) understands that when he comes back we want to insert him into the ninth-inning role,” Francona said. “If he’s going to do that, he needs to be sharp.”
Perez, who was recently charged with possession of a controlled substance, told reporters that he wasn’t concerned with the crowd reaction the next time he takes the mound in Cleveland.
“I think if he gets them out, they’ll cheer,” Francona said. “That’s normally the way it goes as a closer. I think people, whether they’re baseball fans or just people in general don’t mind forgiving people. If you treat people right, I think they treat you right back.
“With us, he’s been really good and really mature about it. We’re kind of looking forward to moving on.”
Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall continued his tear at Triple-A Columbus, going 2-for-4 Sunday to raise his average to .390 — with six homers and 26 RBIs — in 27 games.
With Swisher ailing and Mark Reynolds moving from third to first to replace him, Francona was asked if the Indians have considered recalling Chisenhall, who began the year as Cleveland’s starter but was demoted after batting just .213 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 26 games.
“We talk about that a lot. We talk about those types of things almost every day,” Francona said.
- Royals outfielder David Lough was born in Akron and attended Green High School. He started in right field in the series opener.
- The Indians announced a total of 349 dogs in attendance for the “Puppypalooza” promotion.
- Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WMMS 100.7-FM. Jimenez (5-4, 4.79) vs. Santana (5-5, 2.74).