Indians activate Jason Kipnis from the disabled list

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Out since late April with a strained oblique muscle, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is off the disabled list and back in the lineup for tonight’s game against the White Sox.

Kipnis was hitting .234 with three homers and a .748 OPS before the injury and ended up missing 26 games, during which time the Indians went 13-13 without him while using Mike Aviles as their primary second baseman. Aviles posted a .661 OPS in his absence.

Kipnis went just 1-for-9 on a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A, but the Indians are convinced he’s fully recovered and tonight he’s batting cleanup.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.