CLEVELAND — The rookie won out over the veteran.
The Indians traded infielder Orlando Cabrera to the Giants on Saturday, not because they were disappointed in his play, but because they wanted to clear more time for prized prospect Jason Kipnis.
Cabrera, 36, was signed in the offseason to provide leadership in a young Indians clubhouse and a top-shelf glove alongside All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in his first year at second base.
The two-time Gold Glove award winner didn’t last a year.
“I thought he handled it very well. He was very professional about it,” Indians manager Manny Acta said of Cabrera’s reaction to the trade. “He had a lot to do with the success we had here in the first couple of months of the season. He really helped Asdrubal and helped a lot of the young kids. But the main thing was for us to get Kipnis the playing time that we think he deserves.”
With Cabrera gone, Kipnis, batting .136 (3-for-22) with a home run and two RBIs in seven games since being promoted from Triple-A Columbus, is expected to play fulltime at second.
Outfielder Thomas Neal, whom the Indians acquired for Cabrera, will report to Columbus and assume Cabrera’s 40-man roster spot.
Third baseman Jason Donald was promoted Sunday from Columbus to take Cabrera’s spot on Cleveland’s 25-man roster. He went 0-for-2 as the starting third baseman in the series finale with Kansas City after batting .310 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 47 games for the Clippers.
Donald was expected to open the season as the Indians’ starting third baseman but began the year on the disabled list with a fracture in his left hand that he sustained in spring training.
Cabrera struggled to adjust to his new position and hit just .241 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 91 games. He was not pleased when the Indians began promoting young players to take his playing time and did not sound disappointed to leave Cleveland.
“The (Indians) told me they had good news and bad news — maybe for me it was good news and good news,” Cabrera told reporters in Cincinnati, where the Giants played Saturday. “They were feeling bad that I wasn’t playing much. They were going to go with Kipnis every day. It’s something that will work out for both (teams).
“I’m on the 25-man roster of the world champions. That’s enough for me.”
Big league Choo
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (broken left thumb) accompanied the Indians to Boston, where he will likely take batting practice with the team.
The next step for Choo would be a minor league rehab assignment, with a potential return to Cleveland in mid-August.
The Indians hit the road for a four-game series in Boston that begins tonight at 7:10.
Josh Tomlin (11-5, 4.01 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing RHP John Lackey (9-8, 6.20), while David Huff (1-1, 0.71) starts Tuesday (7:10) against RHP Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.17).
Carlos Carrasco (8-9, 4.67) starts for the Indians on Wednesday (7:10) against RHP Tim Wakefield (6-4, 5.06), while Justin Masterson (8-7, 2.57) goes in the series finale Thursday (7:10), while the Red Sox counter with LHP Jon Lester (10-4, 3.23).
Left fielder Jerad Head hit his team-leading 16th homer in a 2-for-4, three-RBI effort Saturday in Columbus’ 5-4 victory over Norfolk. Head, a non-drafted free-agent signing in 2005, entered Sunday batting .282 with 52 RBIs in 90 games. … Adam Miller’s comeback trail has hit a snag at Double-A Akron, where he has posted a 1-3 record and 7.01 ERA in 18 games since being promoted from High-A Kinston. The former prized prospect who has been derailed by multiple surgeries on his right middle finger, allowed five runs on eight hits in just two innings of the Aeros’ 14-5 loss to Erie on Saturday. … Right fielder Jordan Casas had three of Kinston’s five hits in a 4-1 loss to Wilmington on Saturday. Casas, a 40th-round draft pick last year, was promoted from Class A Lake County, where he batted .281 with no homers and 12 RBIs in 35 games.
Asdrubal Cabrera reached base in all five trips to the plate, with a double, two singles and two walks. It was his 12th three-hit game of the season and club-leading 32nd multihit game. … Right fielder Kosuke Fukudome recorded his first American League hit with a double in the sixth inning. … Tonight, 7:10, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM.
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