CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Roberto Hernandez will not make another start for the Indians this season, but there is still a chance that he could appear in one of the team's final few games out of the bullpen.
On Saturday, interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said Hernandez's right ankle issue is improving, but there is still a risk of aggravating injury. Under the circumstances, Alomar indicated he would try to find a "no-stress situation" for Hernandez to work.
"There's a possibility that he might come out of the bullpen," Alomar said. "It's mostly for peace of mind for himself. He could pitch or just shut it down, either way. We're still evaluating the situation."
The 32-year-old Hernandez sprained his ankle in the third inning of his outing against the A's on Aug. 27, and he has only pitched off the mound a handful of times since the injury. In three appearances this season, Hernandez has gone 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA for Cleveland.
This winter, Cleveland will have to decide between picking up Hernandez's $6 million club option for 2013 or allowing him to become a free agent.
For now, the Indians are only worrying about keeping the pitcher healthy.
"He's moving around better," Alomar said. "We're just concerned if he has to cover first base, or go after a bunt. [We don't want him] in a position [to face] the part of the lineup of the opposition with guys that are bunters, where he'd have stress.
"We'll try to put him in a position that he can succeed, so he can gain confidence."
Chisenhall opts for rest over Winter League ball
CLEVELAND -- Lonnie Chisenhall is choosing rest and recovery over repetitions. The Indians' third baseman has decided against playing winter ball this offseason in order to let his right forearm fully heal.
Chisenhall wants to make sure he is at full strength for Spring Training.
"I recently backpedaled on that," Chisenhall said of playing in the Dominican Republic this winter. "I feel like it's going to be more beneficial for me to get in the gym. It's a short turnaround to Spring Training next year with the World Baseball Classic, and I just want to make sure my forearm is ready to go next spring.
Chisenhall, 23, entered Saturday's game with 253 plate appearances this season between stints with Triple-A Columbus and Cleveland. The third baseman missed roughly two months after having his forearm fractured by a pitch from Baltimore's Troy Patton on June 29.
On the season, Chisenhall is hitting .275 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 38 games with the Tribe.
In 14 games since rejoining the lineup on Sept. 10, Chisenhall has hit .271 with two home runs and six RBIs for the Indians. It has been a solid finish to his injury-marred season, but Chisenhall noted that his arm has not felt 100 percent in recent weeks.
"I don't feel like I have the pop that I did," he said. "I don't feel like I can do certain things that I could do before the injury, but that should be back before next spring."
Under the circumstances, Chisenhall feels an offseason focused on recovery is more important than getting some extra at-bats in winter ball.
"I feel good with the at-bats," Chisenhall said. "I don't think I'm going to wake up in January and feel like, 'Oh, I didn't get 600 at-bats.' But I could wake up in January and say, 'You know what? I'm still tired.' I just don't want that to be the case. I want to show up to Spring Training 100 percent."
Quote to note
"It means a lot. I hope they continue doing it. I said, 'It's not just the first night, guys. You've got to go out there every night and do it.' It means a lot. I have a lot of respect for those guys. And I'm telling you, those guys, they've been playing hard all along."
-- Indians interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr., on the players' desire to help him get his first managerial win on Friday night.
If it looked like there was less defensive shifting during Sandy Alomar Jr.'s first game as Cleveland's manager on Friday, he said it was purely a coincidence. Alomar said third-base coach Steve Smith handles those decisions with the infielders and there was no philosophical change just because Manny Acta is no longer managing.
"That was just yesterday's game," Alomar explained on Saturday. "[Eric] Hosmer was not playing. That's one of the guys we put on the shift for. Steve Smith does a great job with the report. They do a good job with the shifting stuff and the position of the players. I'm not concerned about that. There was nothing special yesterday. The guys did the same thing.
"Steve Smith is in charge of the infielders and [first-base coach] Tom Wiedenbauer is in charge of the outfielders, and I have a great deal of respect for those guys and trust. I've seen through the whole year that I've been watching, I don't think we've been burned many times."
Alomar has heard from a host of family, friends and former teammates over the past two days since being named interim manager. The messages continued to flood in after he picked up his first managerial win on Friday night.
"I've got so many text messages right now, it's ridiculous," Alomar said with a laugh. "I have a phone with a hard drive. It's telling me to stop. I think it was full. It's hard to fill up a phone with data, but I have many e-mails and many texts from different friends. I'm very appreciative of that."
Indians center fielder Michael Brantley (left groin) and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (mid-back strain) took batting practice prior to Saturday's game against the Royals. Alomar said both players might be back in the lineup on Sunday.