Jason Kipnis expected to return to action Thursday

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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been sidelined since last Friday with a bit of discomfort in the area of his right oblique, but he’s made significant progress in the last couple of days and is expected to return to Cleveland’s starting lineup for Thursday night’s series finale against the White Sox.

The good news comes from beat writer Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, who adds that Kipnis probably won’t get everyday playing time immediately upon returning as part of a precautionary strategy to keep the rookie infielder healthy down the stretch.

Kipnis, 24, has hit .279/.347/.603 with six home runs, 11 RBI and two stolen bases through the first 75 plate appearances of his major league career. He should remain a high quality contributor for many years to come.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.