CLEVELAND -- The Indians offense has been on a roll of late, and that has been with a depleted lineup. Leadoff man Michael Bourn has been out with a right hand injury for the past three weeks, but is on track to return to the top of the order soon.
Cleveland announced Sunday that Bourn is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Monday night. The center fielder, who has been taking regular batting practice for the past couple of days, will likely need a handful of games before being activated.
"I just want to get a couple games under my belt before I step out on the big league field," Bourn said. "I'll just see some pitches and try to get my timing back as quick as I can. They'll give me a few games to go and do that, and hopefully I'll be ready to go after two or three games."
Indians manager Terry Francona said the plan calls for Bourn to play seven innings and man center field in his first game. From there, Bourn will serve as a designated hitter in his second game, before taking on a full nine-inning workload as a center fielder in a third rehab game.
Francona said it has been nice to see the rest of the Tribe's lineup step up while Bourn has been sidelined.
"We never want guys to get hurt," Francona said, "but in the meantime, guys have taken advantage of their playing time, and it'll end up being good for us. Guys have some at-bats under their belt, and when you do need to go to them, they have some timing and they feel better about themselves."
Bourn suffered a laceration of his right index finger while sliding into first base in the eighth inning of a 3-1 loss to the White Sox on April 14. The deep cut required five stitches, and Bourn has gradually worked his way back with baseball activities since having the stitches removed on April 25.
Bourn -- signed to a four-year contract worth $48 million over the winter -- hit .333 (15-for-45) with two home runs, four doubles, one triple, two RBIs and seven runs scored in 10 games for the Indians. Cleveland has gone 9-8 in Bourn's absence.
Pestano feels better, but DL stint still possible
CLEVELAND -- After dealing with a sore right elbow over the past week, Vinnie Pestano was not sure how he would feel when he played catch on Sunday morning. The Indians setup man came away from the throwing session relieved with the result.
"I felt better than I thought I would," Pestano said, "after not throwing five of the last six days, and throwing long toss and in the bullpen [on Saturday]. I've done everything I can to try to get as healthy as I can as soon as possible. It's just day-to-day right now."
Following Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Twins, Indians manager Terry Francona indicated that Pestano should be available out of the bullpen beginning on Monday. As things currently stand, the Tribe's setup man will avoid a trip to the disabled list.
"He's doing good," Francona said Sunday. "He should be available [Monday]. He threw this morning and had a really good session. Everything points toward him being OK."
With Pestano coming back from the minor injury, the Indians promoted left-handed reliever Scott Barnes from Triple-A Columbus on Sunday to provide an extra arm for the relief corps. To clear a spot on the active roster, Cleveland designated outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for assignment.
Carrera -- claimed off waivers Thursday from the Phillies, who claimed the outfielder from the Indians shortly before the start of the season -- will be exposed to waivers once again. If the 25-year-old outfielder (hitting .176 through 15 games between Cleveland the Philadelphia this season) is not claimed, the Tribe can send him outright to Triple-A.
"We wanted to get Zeke back, which we did," Francona said. "We decided that we wanted to try to keep our bullpen intact, so we got Barnesy here. I'm glad we did. Selfishly, I hope [Carrera] clears [waivers]."
The 28-year-old Pestano has not appeared in a game for the Indians since the second leg of a doubleheader on April 28, when the right-hander surrendered a run on one hit and two walks in a 20-pitch outing against the Royals. Pestano has a 2.25 ERA in eight games, with eight strikeouts and four walks.
Prior to Sunday's game against the Twins, Pestano played catch up to a distance of 120 feet with Francona and head trainer Lonnie Soloff looking on.
Marson remains sidelined with ailing shoulder
CLEVELAND -- Indians catcher Lou Marson has spent the bulk of the first five weeks of the season on the sidelines. Cleveland's backup behind the plate is dealing with a right shoulder issue, and there is no clear timetable for his return.
Marson is hoping to see some improvement in the near future.
"Hopefully we can get it going here so I can start playing some baseball," Marson said Sunday.
The 26-year-old Marson was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 25 with the right shoulder injury, which flared up during Spring Training, but has been an on-and-off issue for a couple years. The catcher received a cortisone shot earlier this week and has not been cleared to resume playing catch yet.
Prior to the current ailment, Marson was shelved for two weeks in April after injuring his neck in a home-plate collision with Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings on April 6. The neck strain forced Marson to stop throwing for the better part of two weeks, and the catcher said that down time led to his shoulder acting up again.
"I kind of got set back when I hurt my neck," Marson said. "I was starting to feel better. Usually, the more I throw, the better I feel, but I wasn't able to throw for a good 10-12 days. I was kind of set back."
Marson has allowed four stolen bases -- with no runners caught stealing -- in his three games played. Last year, the catcher saw his caught-stealing rate drop to 14 percent after throwing runners out at a 38-percent clip in his 2010 and '11 campaigns. Asked if the shoulder issue hurt his throwing ability last year, Marson shrugged.
"Maybe, maybe not," he said. "Maybe it was just a down year. It started bothering me in the spring. I haven't felt the same in a couple years. I need to get back to where I'm at the top of the league again and feeling good."
Catcher Yan Gomes has filled in admirably as a backup for the Tribe. Cleveland pitchers have posted a 3.24 ERA with Gomes behind the plate, he has thrown out three of five runners to attempting a stolen base, and he has hit .226 with two home runs and three RBIs in 11 games.
"He's doing great," Marson said. "We're playing good baseball right now. We've got to try to keep it going. They're swinging the bat well, and we've just got a lot of energy right now. It's a great atmosphere. Yan has been doing a nice job. Carlos [Santana] has been doing a nice job, too. That's nice to see."
• Indians right-hander Brett Myers (on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation) said he has felt good during the early stages of his throwing program. Myers has resumed playing catch on flat ground and has to gradually build up to 120 feet before working his way back to a mound.
• Entering Sunday's game with the Twins, Cleveland's Ryan Raburn led the American League with an .870 slugging percentage with two outs. Teammates Carlos Santana (.700) and Mark Reynolds (.688) ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the same category in the AL.
• The Indians had churned out at least six runs and at least 12 hits in each of the past six games entering Sunday's matinee. That marks the longest such streak for Cleveland since June 16-23, 1935, when the Tribe went a club-record seven straight games with at least six runs and at least 12 hits.