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CLEVELAND (AP) — Jason Kipnis is back in his familiar spots — at second base, and atop Cleveland's lineup.
The former All-Star, who has had a rough season, was activated from the disabled list on Sunday after being sidelined since before the break with a strained right hamstring. Kipnis was in the lineup and leading off in the series finale against the New York Yankees.
For Kipnis, his return represents a personal fresh start and a chance to help the Indians down the stretch as they try to defend their AL title. He hurt his leg while running the bases on July 8 against Detroit.
"It happened right before the All-Star break, so I mean that is kind of the mid-point for me anyways," he said. "You're looking for a strong second half and this just gave me hopefully the chance I needed to kind of get my feet back under me and start to prepare for the late push and help this team."
Before his latest injury, Kipnis was batting .232 with eight homers and 26 RBIs in 66 games. He missed only six games last season, when he batted .275 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs.
To make room for Kipnis, the club optioned infielder Erik Gonzalez to Triple-A Columbus.
Despite missing one of their top players and leaders, the Indians maintained their lead in the AL Central without Kipnis, who began the season on the DL with a shoulder injury.
Kipnis recently played at Columbus to get ready. He did enough jumping and diving to feel confident his leg can withstand what's ahead.
"Pretty much," he said. "I think that'll come with reactionary plays. It's feeling good. We've passed all the tests and mentally I am more than capable of pushing off, jumping and doing all of those things I need to do."
If there is a silver lining in his injuries, it's that he knows how hard to push and when to back off.
"You listen to what your body tells you," he said. "If it says you need longer time warming up, then you need longer time warming up. It just kind of comes with the territory of getting older. It comes with the territory of guys that learn to adjust accordingly when their body is telling them that this hurts or this or this feels good, let's do more of that. Then you go from there when you find out what works."
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