CLEVELAND -- The Indians will not know if right-hander Roberto Hernandez will need to miss a start until the sinkerballer tests his ailing right ankle on a mound again. That step is expected to come on Wednesday afternoon.
"The test is going to be tomorrow," Indians manager Manny Acta said prior to Tuesday's game against the A's. "That's his side day, his bullpen. [Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff] is very optimistic that it's nothing serious and that he's going to be OK."
During the third inning of Monday's 3-0 loss to Oakland, Hernandez twisted his ankle while running off the mound to back up home plate after giving up a one-out double to Yoenis Cespedes. Hernandez proceeded to throw two pitches to the next batter, Seth Smith, before being pulled from the game with a sprained ankle.
Hernandez played catch in left field during Cleveland's pregame workout on Tuesday and came away from the throwing session feeling improved.
"He's got a little bit of inflammation there," Acta acknowledged, "but he feels good. He tests right for Lonnie."
Against the A's, Hernandez was charged with three runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings, and he slipped to 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA through his first three starts of the season. Despite that overall pitching line, the Indians have been encouraged by the early showing from Hernandez, who missed the first four months while dealing with legal issues.
Hernandez was arrested in January on charges of using a false identity (Fausto Carmona) and did not gain his visa to return to the United States until July 21.
"He's been more in the zone than where I've seen him in the past," Acta said. "It's only been three games and he's not lighting the world on fire, but those three games he has been able to throw strikes and attack the zone, and he hasn't self-destructed."
Acta send the final month of the season will be crucial for evaluating Hernandez, whose restructured contract includes a $6 million club option for 2013.
"It's very important for him and for us," Acta said, "to be able to see him and evaluate him to make a decision."
Rest may help Asdrubal combat second-half slide
CLEVELAND -- It has been the same story two years in a row for Asdrubal Cabrera and the Indians. As the season has progressed, the All-Star has appeared to wear down, with his statistics declining in the process.
Manager Manny Acta does not believe it is a trend, but he feels the shortstop needs to address the issue.
"It's something that he has to look into," Acta said, "and see what's going to work for him, whether it's resting more in the first half, which is something that at times you just can't afford to do. you're playing. We're here to win. Or, the preparation. Whatever it is, I'm not going to go and say that is a trend."
Acta gave Cabrera the day off on Monday and put him back into the lineup as a designated hitter for Tuesday's game against the A's. The manager has noted that the shortstop has been playing with sore legs, which have been banged up by a slew of foul balls of late.
Still, there is no denying the similarities between this season and last year.
In his first 69 games this year, Cabrera hit .300 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs for the Indians. In the 48 games since that solid start, which earned Cabrera a spot on the American League All-Star team for the second year in a row, the shortstop has hit .238 with three homers and 13 RBIs.
Last season, Cabrera hit .294 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs in his first 91 games and then hit .240 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 60 games down the stretch.
"He's had a pretty decent season," Acta said. "His numbers are not going to be like last year and he can't do it all by himself. You have to have people on base and people around you doing well in order for you to drive in runs and stuff like that.
"I think he's been pretty consistent, and it hasn't been as bad as it was last year. He just had an unbelievable first half last year, too. It was tough to match."
Acta said he will monitor Cabrera's playing time closely over the final month.
"I'm not syaing that he's going to play every single game," Acta said. "We are going to rest him a little bit."
Seddon eager to impress during chance with Tribe
CLEVELAND -- The last month of this season will serve as a kind of audition for left-hander Chris Seddon.
Seddon joined the Indians during their 11-game losing streak in early August, earning an opportunity in the rotation before being moved to the bullpen. The lefty is looking forward to using the remainder of the schedule to hopefully show Cleveland he can fit into the plans for next season.
"I've just got to get guys out and try to put up the best numbers that I can," Seddon said. "If things work out and next year I'm here, I would love that. I like the guys here. I like Cleveland.
"But if things happen and I go somewhere else, then hopefully I've put up the right numbers and somebody else will give me a shot. I'd love to be here, though."
Cleveland signed the 28-year-old Seddon to a Minor League contract last offseason mostly to add some depth to its Triple-A pitching staff. He was promoted to the Indians' rotation on Aug. 5 after struggling starters Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin were removed from the starting staff.
Overall, Seddon has posted a 4.12 ERA in seven appearances, but he has put up a 2.89 ERA through 9 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. On Monday night, after starter Roberto Hernandez exited his outing against Oakland in the third inning due to a right ankle injury, Seddon turned in 4 2/3 shutout innings.
"He gave us a huge lift," Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Acta has liked Seddon's recent improvement in pounding the strike zone.
"He throws strikes. He attacks the zone with four pitches," Acta said. "He showed some of that [on Monday]."
Quote to note
"There's probably a want and a desire to really get the job done. Maybe some guys are putting too much pressure on themselves, maybe not. When you go up the plate and you have guys in scoring position, you really want to get them in, obviously. I think the frustration builds a little more when you're not able to, especially after repeated chances." -- Infielder Jason Donald, on the Indians' struggles with runners in scoring position
On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A Carolina right-hander Jordan Cooper the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for the period of Aug. 19-26. During that span, the 23-year-old Cooper went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, piling up nine strikeouts against one walk in 12 innings.
Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall continues to make progress in his comeback from a fractured right forearm. Chisenhall has progressed to infield drills and taking batting practice with the team. Manager Manny Acta said the team is hopeful that Chisenhall can be sent out on a Minor League rehab with Double-A Akron soon.
The Indians entered Tuesday's game with the A's with a 5-20 record for the month of August. This marks only the second time in the last 21 seasons that Cleveland has suffered at least 20 losses in a single calendar month. The Tribe went 7-21 in September 2009.