CLE@CWS: Swisher discusses being placed on 15-day DL

ARLINGTON -- Nick Swisher has worn the Yankees' pinstripes. He has suited up for the A's and White Sox and currently, as a member of the Indians, the first baseman is playing for one of the four charter clubs of the American League.

Now, Swisher gets to be a RubberDuck.

"Is that what they're called?" Swisher said with a laugh, referring to Cleveland's Double-A affiliate in Akron. "That's great."

Swisher, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to a left knee injury, is scheduled to take part in a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Tuesday (five innings) and Wednesday. Indians manager Terry Francona indicated on Saturday that, barring any setbacks, Swisher could rejoin Cleveland on Thursday during its upcoming series in Boston.

It is possible that Swisher will be activated from the DL on Thursday or Friday.

"That was kind of the whole game plan. We were going to take 15 days and go from there," said Swisher, who is eligible for activation on Wednesday. "Everything seems to be on track. As of right now, I feel good."

Prior to Saturday's game in Texas, Swisher ran the bases at Globe Life Park, testing his knee on the basepaths for the first time since sustaining the injury on May 26 in Chicago. On Friday, the switch-hitting first baseman hit on the field during batting practice for the first time.

"I felt really good, man," Swisher said. "It's just nice to put in all that work and go out there and feel good this early into the stint. Hopefully, everything just keeps going the way it is, I'm able to get some games under my belt and feel good so that, when I do come back, I'm ready to go."

On the season, Swisher has hit .211 with three home runs, 11 doubles, 17 runs and 19 RBIs in 49 games for Cleveland. In his absence, the Indians had gone 6-3 (entering Saturday) with third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall helping out with the first-base duties. Carlos Santana (activated from the seven-day concussion list on Friday) started at first on Saturday.

"We value our bench a lot," Francona said. "When you're planning your season, you can't plan it, but [general manager Chris Antonetti] always says there's probably 700 at-bats or something for DL guys, and he's always close. We know that [Ryan] Raburn, [Mike] Aviles, those guys will get the bulk of those at-bats. They do a good job and, because of their versaility -- moving Lonnie to first -- we're able to make it work."

Smoke signals

• Indians manager Terry Francona chatted with Mike Aviles about the infielder's slow jog up the first-base line during Friday's rally-killing double play in the eighth inning. While it looked like a lack of hustle, Aviles revealed after the 6-4 loss that he was fighting a minor right toe issue. Francona was unaware of the injury at the time.

"He didn't say much to me during the game," Francona said. "I told him, 'I wish you would've told me, because I could've protected you a little bit.' He felt bad. He really felt bad. Mikey's a pretty solid guy, which we all know. That's why when you asked me last night, it's hard, because you want guys to always run balls out. I talked to him after the game."

• Francona handed deposed closer John Axford a higher-leverage situation on Friday, using the righty in the eighth inning with one out, two runners on base and Cleveland trailing by one run. The manager said he is trying to give Axford higher pressure situations with the eventual goal of returning him to the closer's job.

"We want him to impact our bullpen, for sure," Francona said. "That would be the goal. But, again, when we do it, we want to make sure he stays there. The way we're situated now, if he does come in and walk somebody, you can match up and we have a lot of guys to do it. So, it's been working pretty well."

• Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo will be away from the team on Sunday to attend a graduation ceremony for his son in California. While Van Burkleo is away, Luis Ortiz, Cleveland's lower-level hitting instructor, will help assistant hitting coach Matt Quatraro with the duties.