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Indians place CF Bourn on disabled list with cut finger

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Associated Press
4/17/2013 4:24:00 PM
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CLEVELAND -- The Indians will be without their leadoff hitter, starting centerfielder and top base-stealing threat for at least two weeks.

Michael Bourn's loss creates some big holes.

As expected, the team placed Bourn on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a cut right index finger that needed five stitches and currently is in a splint. Cleveland made the move before its game against the Boston Red Sox.

The inside of Bourn's finger got sliced open Sunday when he got stepped on by White Sox reliever Matt Thornton while diving into first base in the eighth inning. The cut is near the joint in Bourn's finger, and the injury would impact his ability to throw or grip a bat.

Indians manager Terry Francona thinks Bourn should come close to being ready to play when he's eligible to come off the DL on April 30.

In the meantime the Indians will be without the two-time NL All-Star, who signed a $48 million, four-year contract with Cleveland as a free agent in February. He's batting .333 with two homers and two RBIs in 10 games, and although he has just one steal, the Indians will miss his speed atop the lineup.

Michael Brantley hit leadoff for the first time this season as the Indians faced Boston's Alfredo Aceves. Drew Stubbs has batted first twice for Cleveland. Brantley has also batted third, fifth and sixth this season and Francona said it's valuable to have a versatile hitter who can anywhere in the batting order.

"I've been fortunate on teams that I've been with there's always a guy or two you can move and it doesn't upset the whole apple cart and the order," Francona said. "Guys like that are really helpful."

The Indians delayed the roster move on Bourn to make sure left-hander Scott Kazmir, who was on the DL with a strained rib cage, could start on Saturday against Houston before adjusting the roster. Francona said Kazmir is ready for his first start in the major since April 3, 2011 for the Angels.

As protection, the club also recalled right-hander Corey Kluber. He joined the team last week but had a start against the Yankees rained out. He will pitch out of the bullpen.

Francona said the Indians intend to keep working with starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who had another awful outing on Tuesday. Jimenez didn't get out of the second inning and was charged with seven runs.

Jimenez dropped to 1-12 with a 7.27 ERA in 17 starts since last July.

"It's only been a few starts," Francona said. "If we lost our patience with everybody after a few starts we wouldn't have a team. I get the mail and everything, 'send him down and do this'. My job is to get him better, not every time he struggles get rid of him. If we did that, we wouldn't have a team, we wouldn't have coaches and we wouldn't have a manager."

Francona wasn't with Jimenez last season, when the right-hander led the AL with 17 losses. He said pitching coach Mickey Callaway has made progress with Jimenez.

"Last year, it's over," Francona said. "You can't pitch for last year. It doesn't work. It just makes it harder. We need to figure out what he did well and didn't do well, build on it and fix what he didn't do well. If you start going back to last August then he's got no chance. Nobody is good enough to go back and fix last year."

Michael Bourn  (Photo:  Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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