After missing the start of the season with a right calf strain and being sidelined two more weeks with a left ankle injury, Francisco Lindor is leaving little question regarding his health in his rehab stint with Triple-A Columbus.
The prized Cleveland shortstop fell a triple shy of the cycle in the Clippers' rain-shortened 8-5 victory over the Louisville Bats on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a walk. The homer was Lindor's second in three games -- a fourth-inning solo jack that landed on Louisville Slugger Field's pavilion in right-center field.
Video: Francisco Lindor blasts solo homer for Columbus
The three-time All-Star injured his calf in early February while training in Orlando, Florida, and was diagnosed with a moderate strain. Initial estimates suggested he'd miss nearly two months, but Lindor exceeded expectations in the recovery process. However, the 25-year-old tweaked his left ankle running the bases in a Minor League rehab game at spring camp and had been sidelined until this week. He joined Columbus on Tuesday.
It didn't take long for Cleveland's 2018 hit leader to make an impact Thursday. Swinging on a 3-0 count, Lindor crushed a ground-rule double to right off Louisville starter Jose Lopez in the second at-bat of the game and came around to score on Ryan Flaherty's two-run big fly two batters later. He led off the third with the long ball to extend the Clippers' lead to 4-0, and opened the fifth with a line-drive single to right before scoring on Brandon Barnes' knock. The two-time Silver Slugger award-winner was intentionally walked in the sixth and grounded out in the eighth.
Gameday box score
In his three games with the Clippers, Lindor posted a .417 average (5-for-12), with two RBIs. According to MLB.com, he'll drive from Louisville to Cleveland on Thursday night and is scheduled to be evaluated by trainers Friday, meaning the Indians' catalyst could return to big league action as early as the weekend.
2019 MiLB include
Cleveland sits on top of the American League Central Division with an 11-7 record, but is surely missing Lindor. He's posted a .288/.350/.487 line in his four-season Major League career and has played in at least 158 games each year since 2016. His 129 runs scored led the league last season and he clubbed a career-best 38 homers, which tied for the sixth most in the Majors. The Indians have been without a true shortstop since Opening Day.
Meanwhile, Eric Haase homered for a fourth consecutive game for the Clippers, highlighting his 3-for-4 day. Flaherty finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
Michael Peoples (1-0) pitched around 10 hits and a walk to limit the Bats to two runs in six innings. He struck out six en route to the win.
Rob Refsnyder smashed a three-run homer to cap a 3-for-4 showing for Louisville and Aristides Aquino also turned in a three-hit game, belting a solo long ball.
Lopez (1-1) was saddled with the loss after surrendering five runs on eight hits, including three homers, over four innings. He fanned six.