June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Tribe: Disabled list keeps growing as Santana, Swisher are sitting

Editor’s note: The Indians-White Sox game on Tuesday had not been completed at press time due to several rain delays.

The injuries are beginning to mount for the last-place Indians.

With All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, starting pitcher Zach McAllister and outfielder Nyjer Morgan already sidelined, Cleveland placed two more key players on the disabled list Tuesday in first baseman Nick Swisher and third baseman Carlos Santana.

Swisher, who is struggling mightily in the second season of a four-year, $56 million contract (.211, 3 home runs, 19 RBIs in 49 games), is headed to the 15-day DL with a hyper-extended left knee. The knee has been sore, with Swisher re-aggravating the injury while stepping on first base after an at-bat Monday in the series opener in Chicago.

It is just the second career trip to the injured list for Swisher, the other coming in 2005 during his first full season in the majors with Oakland.

He was scheduled to return to Cleveland on Tuesday night.

“We’ll get him looked at (today), try to figure out what’s going on and from there we’ll know how to treat it,” manager Terry Francona told reporters Tuesday prior to his team’s game at U.S. Cellular Field.

Santana, who was hit on the mask by a foul tip while catching Sunday in Baltimore, was placed on the seven-day concussion list. He was originally in the lineup for the series opener against the White Sox, but was scratched when he arrived to the park ill.

Santana, who has also struggled mightily (.159, 6 homers, 17 RBIs in 50 games), still had concussion-like symptoms Tuesday.

“When he started to run and get loose, he got a headache, so that’s when you have to start to be cautious,” Francona said. “We talked to (the White Sox) doctor and they couldn’t call it a concussion (Monday), but he sort of seemed like he had the flu and he also had a temperature. When you’re having concussion-like symptoms, you have to err on the side of not playing.”

It is the second time in three seasons that Santana has been placed on the concussion DL.

To fill the roster spots of Swisher and Santana, the Indians recalled first baseman Jesus Aguilar and catcher George Kottaras from Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland also designated Columbus relief pitcher Blake Wood for assignment.

It is the second stint of the season in Cleveland for Kottaras and Aguilar.

Aguilar, the organization’s top power-hitting prospect, made his big league debut May 15 and played in four games for the Indians (1-for-7, 2 RBIs).

Kottaras, 31, made a much bigger impression, becoming the first player in franchise history to hit homers in each of his first two at-bats with the team in his only game, May 4 against the White Sox at Progressive Field.

The Indians, who have also endured early-season injuries to center fielder Michael Bourn and veteran designated hitter Jason Giambi, are expected to get some relief on that front tonight with the return of Kipnis. Kipnis has missed close to a month with a strained right oblique, batting .234 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 27 games before the injury.

“This team is being tested right now, but that’s one of the nice things about having depth,” Kipnis said. “We have a lot of depth on this team. The guys we have in this locker room, we can throw in a different lineup there and still go out and compete and win games.”

“I can’t ever think of a good time not to get Kip back,” Francona said. “He’s turned himself into one of the better players in the league, the way he approaches the game. I don’t care if it’s Sept. 30 or spring training, having Kip back is great.”

Contact Chris Assenheimer at (440) 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.