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09/06/11 11:54 PM ET

Kipnis activated, but won't play every day

Rookie's return to lineup will amount to rehab stint in Majors

CLEVELAND -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis smiled. It was the grin of a man who had known all along that he would be coming off the disabled list for Tuesday's home game against the Tigers.

Sure enough, Cleveland activated its second baseman and inserted him into the sixth spot of the lineup.

"I may or may not have had a little idea of when it might have happened," said Kipnis, who had a hit in three at-bats during the Indians' 10-1 loss to the Tigers.

Kipnis is just thrilled his stint on the sidelines is over.

On Aug. 18 in Chicago, Kipnis was ready to return from a pesky oblique injury, but the rookie strained his right hamstring while stretching, only a few minutes before he would have taken the field against the White Sox. Kipnis was scratched from the lineup and sent to the disabled list.

Kipnis finished Tuesday hitting .282 with six home runs, four doubles, 11 RBIs and 14 runs in 18 games for the Indians.

"It wasn't fun," Kipnis said, "to have the oblique happen when I was kind of starting to get settled in and get a little bit of confidence going. Then I was going to try to play through it, and I head out to the line and the hamstring happens. ... But it's just another bump in the road."

Indians manager Manny Acta said that Kipnis will have an off-day Wednesday, and he will play a couple of games during Cleveland's upcoming four-game series in Chicago. Acta said Kipnis' playing time will be handled similarly to a player who is working through a Minor League rehab assignment. Kipnis exited the game on Tuesday after seven innings, in favor of Luis Valbuena, who was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Columbus to provide some added depth.

Beyond Kipnis, Jason Donald and Valbuena will also see time at second base. Third baseman Jack Hannahan will be sidelined for much of the next week with a left calf injury.

"Kipnis is basically rehabbing at this level," Acta said. "In any other scenario ... he would've gone down [to the Minors] and would've stretched himself step by step. That's what he's going to do here. I don't think it's fair to run him out there every day right off the bat."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.