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.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.