Lower-body injuries have kept the Indians’ starting middle infield – shortstop Francisco Lindor (high left ankle sprain) and second baseman Jason Kipnis (right calf strain) – from taking the field this season. The latter is making progress in his Triple-A rehab assignment, though there’s still no timetable for his return, Mandy Bell of MLB.com writes. Lindor, who’s out until at least late April, is only doing light workouts at the moment, but “he’s getting better every day,” manager Terry Francona said. The Indians will reevaluate Lindor during the upcoming week, Bell reports. The absences of Lindor and Kipnis have forced the Tribe to deploy Eric Stamets, Brad Miller and Max Moroff as their main middle infielders. Unfortunately for Cleveland, those three have produced abysmal results, having combined for a paltry four hits (three singles and a double) in 57 plate appearances.
- Barring any setbacks in his Triple-A rehab stint, reliever Jeremy Jeffress will rejoin the Brewers next weekend, according to manager Craig Counsell (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). The return of Jeffress, who hasn’t debuted this year on account of right shoulder weakness, will be a welcome one for a Milwaukee team that lost fellow late-game option Corey Knebel to season-ending Tommy John surgery last week. The reigning National League Central champions have nevertheless rolled to a 7-2 start, though their bullpen has lacked a complement to the untouchable Josh Hader. Jeffress filled that role with aplomb in 2018, during which he notched a near-spotless 1.29 ERA with 10.45 K/9, 3.17 BB/9 and a 56.4 percent groundball rate in 76 2/3 innings.
- Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar expressed optimism earlier this week that he wouldn’t need to undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. Manager Aaron Boone was similarly enthusiastic Saturday, George A. King III of the New York Post relays. While Boone acknowledged that surgery remains an option, he left open the possibility that this injury won’t lead to a long-term absence and added, “We are optimistic just because of the strength he is showing in all his testing.’’ Andujar’s still not swinging a bat, but whether he returns will depend more on how well he throws when he’s cleared to do so, per Boone. Without Andujar and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the injury-stricken Yankees have turned to veteran second baseman DJ LeMahieu to man third and Tyler Wade to handle the keystone. LeMahieu has thrived in the early portion of a two-year, $24MM contract, whereas Wade has been in over his head thus far in 2019.
- Left-hander CC Sabathia, yet another Yankee on the injured list, could rejoin the team’s rotation next weekend, Boone said (also via King). In the meantime, the 38-year-old Sabathia – who’s working back from offseason heart surgery – will throw 60 to 70 pitches in a low-level minor league game Monday. Sabathia will bump either Domingo German or Jonathan Loaisiga from the Yankees’ starting five. Both right-handers did well in their initial starts of the season, but neither went past the five-inning mark.