CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians have cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion back in the lineup for Wednesday night’s winner-take-all Game 5 of their American League Division Series against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field.
The veteran designated hitter returns after sitting out the previous two games with a sprained right ankle. The Indians lost both games in the New York, scoring a total of three runs, as the Yankees tied the series at 2-2.
Encarnacion was injured in the first inning of Game 2 last Friday when he slid awkwardly into second base.
The 34-year-old led the Indians with 38 home runs and 107 RBIs in the regular season after signing a three-year, $60-million contact in the offseason. He is 0-for-3 with a walk and hit by pitch in the ALDS.
Encarnacion took part in a simulated game Tuesday at Progressive Field during an off day in the series.
“He’s never been our best base-stealing threat, even when fully healthy,” Indians manager Terry Francona cracked, referring to Encarnacion having two stolen bases in 157 games this year. “I thought he was moving around fine. I was more concerned with him hitting. I watched in the cage, I watched him on the field. If I wouldn’t have been looking for it, I wouldn’t have known that something was going on. So, I thought that was a really good sign.”
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