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03/01/2013 9:30 PM ET

Herrmann has sprained elbow, shut down indefinitely

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Frank Herrmann entered camp this spring hoping to crack Cleveland's Opening Day rotation. Now, the Indians reliever is hoping his entire season is not in jeopardy.

On Friday, the Indians announced that Herrmann has been shut down indefinitely due to a sprained ligament in his right elbow. Cleveland is evaluating the extent of Herrmann's injury, and there is no timetable for his return.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti was not ready to say whether surgery was looming for Herrmann.

"It's really hard to say at this point," Antonetti said. "We first have to understand the severity of the injury and understand what the options are, and then progress from there. With Frank, we're still trying to get additional information."

The Indians indicated that the 28-year-old Herrmann suffered the injury during his Cactus League appearance on Monday, when he allowed four runs on five hits in one inning against the A's.

Herrmann was among a handful of arms in the mix for jobs in the Tribe's bullpen. Closer Chris Perez, setup man Vinnie Pestano and sidearmer Joe Smith entered spring as the only perceived locks in the relief corps. Other candidates for bullpen roles include Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, Matt Capps, Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes, Rich Hill and David Huff.

Last season, Herrmann posted a 2.33 ERA with 14 strikeouts and four walks in 19 1/3 innings (15 appearances) for the Indians. At Triple-A Columbus last year, he went 2-2 with a 4.78 ERA in 42 games, during which he compiled 58 strikeouts against 15 walks in 52 2/3 innings.

In parts of three seasons, Herrmann has gone 4-1 with a 4.26 ERA in 95 career big league games with the Indians.

Kipnis a possibility for three spot in lineup

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There is plenty of time remaining this spring for Indians manager Terry Francona to decide on a batting order. If the early exhibition games are any indication, second baseman Jason Kipnis might be given a shot as the team's third hitter.

The Indians have their leadoff man established in center fielder Michael Bourn, and Francona has made it known that he is considering using switch-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in the second slot. Kipnis has already been tested out in the three hole a few times.

Francona has not discussed the lineup with Kipnis.

"No, he hasn't," Kipnis said on Friday morning. "I know that we obviously have a great leadoff in Michael Bourn, and I know Tito has been hinting that he likes Cabrera, a switch-hitter, in the two hole. It's almost -- maybe I get the three hole by process of elimination."

First baseman Nick Swisher and catcher Carlos Santana -- both switch-hitters -- are possibilities for the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Francona is quick to remind that nothing is set in stone this early in Spring Training.

"I really don't know," said Francona, referring to how the order might shake out.

The Indians skipper has made one thing clear: He wants to split up his left-handed hitters, if possible. That's why a switch-hitter such as Cabrera makes sense in the No. 2 spot behind Bourn, and a lefty hitter like Kipnis would make sense in the third spot.

"I don't want to do the other manager any favors," Francona said. "So, whether a guy hits second or third, to me, it's not that big a deal. I'd rather split up the lefties with a switch-hitter, than go back-to-back and worry about the guy hitting second."

Last season, the 25-year-old Kipnis hit .257 with 14 home runs, 22 doubles, 31 stolen bases, 76 RBIs and 86 runs in 152 games for Cleveland. He served as the No. 3 hitter in 53 games, hitting .269 with five homers, nine doubles and 32 RBIs in that role. Kipnis' .740 OPS as the third hitter was his best mark among his three most frequent batting slots (first, second and third).

Kipnis knows that his status as the lineup's third batter is far from official.

"It definitely can change before the season starts," Kipnis said. "But I like to be there. I think I can have some good at-bats there and create a lot of runs there, but that doesn't mean I'm automatically going to be there."

Quote to note

"I don't know. The one thing we're going to do, is we're going to take care of it, so it's gone and he can pitch effectively. That's kind of an artificial deadline, because when he's good to go, that's when he'll pitch."

--Indians manager Terry Francona, on whether closer Chris Perez (right shoulder) will be ready for Opening Day

Smoke signals

• Indians outfielder Michael Brantley, who needed 15 stitches Monday due to a left arm laceration, has resumed lower body strength and conditioning, and cardiovascular training. Manager Terry Francona noted that Brantley has also been doing one-handed swinging drills. Brantley might be cleared for limited baseball activities early next week.

• Indians reliever Joe Smith (left abdominal strain) is scheduled to throw in a live batting session during Saturday's workout. He might be cleared for game action next week. Minor League right-hander Trey Haley (right shoulder) has resumed throwing off a mound.

• Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta, who is coming back from left hip surgery, might be ready to resume game activity in a couple of weeks, according to Francona. LaPorta is not on the team's 40-man roster.

• Former Indians manager Mike Hargrove, who is a special advisor for the team, arrived in camp on Friday to serve as a guest instructor. Hargrove typically works with the first basemen and assists with other duties during morning workouts.

• The radar readings at Surprise Stadium had Indians starter Daisuke Matsuzaka (a rotation candidate) around 82-85 mph during his outing on Thursday. Francona said Cleveland's internal readings had Dice-K topping out at 90 mph.

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.