CLEVELAND — First baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop Francisco Lindor need to gain some ground if the Indians hope to have a starter in the All-Star Game on July 9 at Progressive Field.
In the first “primary” vote released Monday, Santana stood fourth and Lindor was sixth. Under a new system, only the top three at each position June 21 move on to the one-day “starters election” June 26.
Santana, who entered Tuesday batting .285 with the team lead in home runs (12) and RBIs (40), was tied for third in the American League with 44 walks and ranked fourth with a .403 on-base percentage.
He trails New York’s Luke Voit (.263, 15 HRs, 41 RBIs), Minnesota’s C.J. Cron (.277, 14 HRs, 43 RBIs) and Seattle’s Edwin Encarnacion (.245, 20 HRs, 46 RBIs) in the voting.
Lindor, who missed the majority of the first month with an ankle injury, entered Tuesday batting .298 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs over 46 games.
New York’s Gleyber Torres (.274, 14 HRs, 32 RBIs), Chicago’s Tim Anderson (.320, nine HRs, 29 RBIs) and Boston’s Xander Bogaerts (.289, 12 HRs, 42 RBIs) are the top three at shortstop.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis and catcher Roberto Perez were 10th.
Closer Brad Hand (0.98 ERA) is a strong candidate to be selected. He was tied for the AL saves lead (19) with Detroit’s Shane Greene through Monday and led the league with 29 games finished.
Major League Baseball announced the coaching staffs for the Futures Game on July 7 in Cleveland and many are former members of the Indians organization.
Jim Thome will serve as the AL manager alongside assistant coaches Dave Burba (bullpen), Sean Casey (hitting) and Charlie Manuel (bench). Dennis Martinez will manage the NL team, with Carlos Baerga (hitting), Charles Nagy (pitching), Alvaro Espinoza (first base) and Omar Vizquel (third base) as his assistants.
- Right-hander Corey Kluber will undergo a six-week evaluation of his fractured right forearm Thursday.
“That’s a full (X-ray) scan and all that stuff and we’ll have a lot more info then,” manager Terry Francona said. Kluber has been sidelined since being struck by a line drive May 1 in Miami.
- Rotation mate Mike Clevinger (upper-back strain) made his second rehab appearance, pitching for Double-A Akron against Hartford on Tuesday.
Clevinger has been on the injured list since April 8, but the Indians were hopeful he would be activated after two rehab appearances.
- Kipnis was out of the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game with hip tightness. Francona said he expected Kipnis to play Wednesday.
Signs of life
The Indians entered Tuesday averaging 6.2 runs per game in taking two of three from the first-place Twins and Yankees — the second-highest average in the majors over the span behind Seattle (7.3).
“I think you saw what we truly are as an offense,” Jake Bauers said. “We hit the ball hard in every game.”
The Indians hit multiple homers in six straight games through Sunday, accounting for their longest such streak in the same season since 1998.
No big deal?
The Indians opened a two-game series against the Reds on Tuesday — their fourth interleague series of the season. Francona was asked if interleague play had lost its luster since its inception in 1997.
“It’s different now,” he said. “It’s not just because it’s been around. They used to do it twice a year and they were big weekends, where you had rivalry games and some of them that they tried to make rivalries. But now, every single day somebody’s playing somebody.
“I don’t think it’s bad for the game at all. It’s just different. And anytime something’s not new anymore, people get used to it. That doesn’t make it bad. It just loses some of its uniqueness.”
Francona’s big problem with interleague play is when the Indians play on the road.
“We’re not built to play National League baseball. Our pitchers don’t hit, our pitchers don’t bunt and I think it puts us at a disadvantage,” he said.
Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was in Boston on Tuesday, two days after being shot in a nightclub in the Dominican Republic.
Francona was Ortiz’s manager from 2004-11, winning two World Series with the probable Hall of Famer.
“Extremely endearing,” Francona said of Ortiz. “He could light up a room and put a room at ease with his smile. But I also got to see a side of him. How he prepared to hit, and how dangerous he was at the plate and what a leader he was.
“We had our times where it was not easy. We fought through it and got to a better place. That happens in this game. He’s a very special person, not just to me, to a lot of people.”
Francona said he spoke to Ortiz’s doctor Tuesday, the same physician who tended to the manager when he was hospitalized with heart issues in 2005.
“He couldn’t be in a better place or with better people,” Francona said.
- The Indians entered Tuesday owning a 60-49 record against the Reds, including a 34-22 mark at home. They have retained the Ohio Cup in four consecutive seasons.
- Cleveland was 204-206 in interleague play through Monday.
- Only Michael Brantley (30 in 2009) and Ryan Garko (23 in 2006) had more hits for the Indians over the first 21 games of their careers than outfielder Oscar Mercado (22).