ST. PETERSBURG -- Indians catcher Lou Marson left Saturday night's game against the Rays after the third inning with a cervical/neck strain after getting hit hard in a collision at home plate.
Marson said after the game that he did not sustain a concussion on the play, but his neck was still sore, making it difficult to look from side to side or up and down. Indians manager Terry Francona said the club would continue to evaluate Marson, who didn't expect the injury to keep him off the field for long.
After drawing a leadoff walk then stealing second and third, Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings sprinted toward home on Matt Joyce's grounder to third base. Lonnie Chisenhall fielded the ball and fired it to Marson, and Jennings ran straight into the 26-year-old catcher, resulting in a violent collision that clearly shook up Marson. Both sides agreed it was just a good, clean baseball play and that Jennings had no other way of getting to home plate.
"Neck's a little sore. He got me pretty good. It was clean, absolutely. He had nowhere to go," Marson said. "I had the plate blocked pretty good. But just my neck's a little sore. No concussions."
Marson held on to the ball to record the out and save the Indians a run, and he remained in the game to finish the third inning after taking a few warmup throws from right-hander Trevor Bauer. But Francona took Marson out of the game before the Tribe took the field for the fourth inning.
"If there's a gray area, I'd rather be accused of being overly cautious," Francona said.
Carlos Santana moved from designated hitter to catcher as the Indians gave up their DH, which resulted in Bauer assuming the ninth spot in the lineup and eventually getting an at-bat.
That was the risk Francona took in starting Santana at DH on Saturday after he caught all of the Tribe's first four games. An injury to Santana at that point would've resulted in Ryan Raburn lining up behind the dish.
"I think it's the right thing to do as far as our team goes, but you run the risk of that when you do that," Francona said.
Albers ejected after arguing call at second
ST. PETERSBURG -- Indians right-hander Matt Albers was ejected from Saturday night's game against the Rays at Tropicana Field for arguing with second-base umpire CB Bucknor at the end of the sixth inning.
After Ben Zobrist grounded out to Nick Swisher for the final out of the sixth, Albers shouted as he walked toward Bucknor and pointed at second base, clearly upset about a call Bucknor made earlier in the inning. Bucknor quickly ejected Albers, who tossed his glove as he walked toward the dugout.
Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar led off the sixth with a hit to center field and hustled around first base, extending his foot as he slid into second base. Michael Bourn got the ball to Jason Kipnis in plenty of time to make the tag, but Bucknor ruled that Escobar safely slid around Kipnis' glove.
Asked about the ejection, Indians manager Terry Francona responded, "[Albers] said something to CB after the inning" about the call.
The Indians protested the call to no avail. Escobar came around to score on Shelley Duncan's RBI single to right field, giving the Rays a 4-0 lead.
Kipnis, Indians put extension talks on hold
ST. PETERSBURG -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis confirmed Saturday that he and the Indians have tabled their discussions regarding a long-term extension until the offseason.
Kipnis said both sides had agreed that they would negotiate until Opening Day then not discuss it again until the Indians' season ends. The Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported Friday that those negotiations had ceased.
"Neither side wanted it to be a distraction," Kipnis said Saturday. "We both agreed that we'd put up 'til April 2. Deal gets done, it gets done. If not, it doesn't. It's not the end of the world, either way. I think both sides felt comfortable putting the deadline there."
Kipnis, 26, has registered just more than a year of service time in the Majors, and 2012 was his first full big-league season. He will make $509,400 this year and doesn't figure to become arbitration-eligible until after the 2014 season, at the earliest.
Kipnis posted a .257/.335/.379 batting line in 152 games last season, hitting 14 homers with 76 RBIs and 31 stolen bases. When this season ends, he would be open to resuming talks about a multiyear deal that would keep him in Cleveland.
"There's definitely always a possibility. Always going to keep an open ear to something like that," Kipnis said. "I have no reason not to. Anyone would love to, so we'll just see what happens after this year."
Bourn lives up to expectations to begin season
ST. PETERSBURG -- Michael Bourn had a slow spring, but he's off to a quick start to the regular season.
Bourn recorded the Indians' only two hits in Friday night's 4-0 loss to the Rays, one of them a leadoff infield single in the first inning and the other a double to right field. He also ran down several fly balls in center field, prompting Cleveland manager Terry Francona to note that Bourn's speed is starting to become a factor for the Tribe.
"I think during Spring Training ... he's smart enough to know that he's going to get beat up during the year. I think he got himself ready like a professional," Francona said. "But I think we all felt like that would be the case, and I think as the season progresses and he doesn't get beat up, I think you'll see his speed continue.
"He's all over the place. That's why we got him. That's impressive."
Bourn went 7-for-18 with two doubles and two runs scored in four games. The Indians signed him to a four-year, $48 million contract this offseason with a $12 million vesting option for 2017, hoping to improve their lineup with a dynamic leadoff man and their defense with a speedy center fielder. The season is still in its infancy, but that's exactly what Bourn has been so far.
"He's been setting the table great for our offense so far. I wish other bats would follow his lead," second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "The value he brings up at the top of the lineup is something that we haven't had in a while. The guy's just a table-setter for us and wreaks havoc on defense and pitchers alike, and hits lefties and righties just as well as each other.
"He's great to have. So far, he's as advertised and a great guy to have in the locker room, too. He's been the whole deal."
Carrasco throws bullpen; Giambi set to be activated
ST. PETERSBURG -- Indians manager Terry Francona said Jason Giambi should be activated before Tuesday's game against the Yankees at Progressive Field.
Giambi opened the year on the disabled list with a back injury, which has worked out for Cleveland as it awaited the end of Carlos Carrasco's six-game suspension.
"I think he's going to be fine," Francona said of Giambi. "He's able to be activated on Tuesday, and I don't see any reason that won't happen."
Francona said he was already thinking of ways to work Giambi into the lineup, though he won't make it a priority until the Tribe heads north for Cleveland. Francona would like to start Giambi against a right-handed starter, but said the Yankees rotation is "in flux" and noted that lefty Andy Pettitte is scheduled to start Tuesday. The Yankees' rotation is currently aligned so that right-handers Ivan Nova and David Phelps will start Wednesday and Thursday, however.
"I certainly don't want him to sit a week," Francona said. "I'm going to do with him just like I do with everybody."
Carrasco, meanwhile, joined the Indians on Saturday and threw a side session in the bullpen. He is scheduled to be activated and start Tuesday's game against the Yankees. Francona said Carrasco had one more day remaining on his six-game suspension, but he should be able to watch Sunday's series finale alongside his teammates in the visiting dugout at Tropicana Field.
"Once we're done here [with Saturday's pregame workouts], we've got to dispose of him," Francona said. "He can be in the dugout starting tomorrow."
• About three and a half hours before Saturday night's game, the Indians officially made the roster move they've discussed the past few days. Scott Kazmir was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 2, and Trevor Bauer was recalled from Triple-A Columbus in time for his Indians debut.
• Rays manager Joe Maddon said Saturday he enjoys some of Bauer's unique behavior, like the hopping heave Bauer makes before warming up each inning and the pole-to-pole long toss, as well as his pitching profile. Maddon, of course, is no stranger to ideas that fall well outside the traditional baseball box.
"When it comes to eccentricities, I'm kind of a fan. So I'll probably like him without even seeing him," Maddon said. "Stuff-wise, it reads really well for him. There's a lot of things that he's capable of doing as a pitcher."
• The Tribe's 4-0 loss to the Rays on Friday marked the third time over the past 21 years that they've been shut out within the season's first four games. The other two came on Opening Day in 2005 and '10, both against the White Sox.