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MLB: Indians’ Edwin Encarnacion “much better,” eyeing postseason return

Edwin Encarnacion of the Cleveland Indians receives medical attention after injuring his ankle in Game 2 against the New York Yankees. He was diagnosed with a sprain.
(Jason Miller / Getty Images)
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Even on their days off, things keep going right for the Cleveland Indians.

Slugger Edwin Encarnacion is hoping to play again this postseason after spraining his right ankle during a frightening moment in Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the New York Yankees.

Manager Terry Francona said Encarnacion probably won’t start Game 3 Sunday night at Yankee Stadium as the Indians try for a sweep. But Encarnacion hasn’t been ruled out despite using crutches and wearing a boot during a day off Saturday.

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The Indians had feared a worse diagnosis.

“I don’t know if remarkably better is a good word, but pretty close,” Francona said Saturday. “He’s doing much better today.”

Michael Brantley is expected to be the designated hitter in Encarnacion’s place Sunday. Cleveland leads the best-of-five series 2-0 after winning 9-8 in 13 innings Friday — a victory helped by a close call that went the Indians’ way just before a grand slam by Francisco Lindor.

Encarnacion said nothing is broken in his ankle and that he’s day to day.

The injury occurred in the first inning Friday night in a game Cleveland eventually won 9-8 in the 13th. Encarnacion was trying to get back to second base on a line drive and jammed his foot into the bag. Encarnacion was doubled off on the play.

Encarnacion hit 38 homers with 107 RBIs in his first season with the Indians. Cleveland signed him to a three-year, $60 million contract after he spent seven-plus seasons with Toronto.

Nationals’ Bryce Harper says he’s improving

A day after saying he felt great, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper acknowledged he could still get better more than two weeks after returning from a knee injury.

Harper said Saturday before Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs that he’ll feel more comfortable the more at-bats he gets. He’s 4 for 22 with two walks since returning, counting his 1 for 4 showing in Washington’s 3-0 loss in Game 1 Friday.

The 24-year-old missed 42 games with a bone bruise in his left knee after hyperextending it Aug. 12 when he slipped on first base. Harper came up just short of catching a run-scoring line drive in right field during Game 1 but said he felt great and that he missed opportunities at the plate.

Harper played just five regular-season games and likened it to spring training and getting back into a rhythm of seeing live pitching.


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