Royals, Hammel to take another shot at banged-up Indians

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians still have the equivalent of a full team -- nine players -- on the disabled list, but they are hoping that some of them will be returning soon.

In the meantime, the Indians will host the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night in the second game of their three-game series. Cleveland won Friday night's series opener 4-0, its American League-leading 13th shutout of the season.

The Indians also learned more about the status of star reliever Andrew Miller, who is on the disabled list for the second time this month due to a sore knee.

Miller has been diagnosed with patellofemoral syndrome, with associated patella tendinitis. Miller will be shut down for five to seven days, after which a more definitive time frame for his return will be established.

"This is really good news," manager Terry Francona said. "We're really optimistic because the medical people are. Andrew is really feeling good and we're confident he'll come back and be the force that he was."

Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list Aug. 22, the second time this month he's been put on the DL with a sore right knee.

Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, who is not on the disabled list but missed the previous three games due to lower back tightness, returned to the lineup Friday and had a single and a walk in four plate appearances.

Whether Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas plays Saturday remains to be seen. Moustakas sat out Friday's game with a sore knee. His status is day-to-day.

Going into Saturday's game, Kansas City is hopeful that left fielder Alex Gordon, who has been in a season-long slump, can build on the momentum he had in Friday's game, in whichhe went 3-for-3.

"That was good to see Gordy get three hits," manager Ned Yost said. "I felt good about having him in the lineup."

In his last three games, Gordon is 4-for-9, raising his season batting average to .204, the highest it's been since Aug. 1.

Saturday's pitching matchup will feature right-handers Jason Hammel of the Royals vs. Mike Clevinger of the Indians.

Hammel (6-9, 4.73 ERA) will be happy to see Cleveland again. In three starts against the Indians this year, Hammel is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA. In his other 22 starts, Hammel is 3-9 with a 4.94 ERA.

Hammel's last start against Cleveland was a 7-4 victory Aug. 20. He pitched six innings, giving up three runs on five hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.

In 12 career appearances (eight starts) against the Indians, Hammel is 3-3 with a 4.64 ERA.

Clevinger (6-5, 3.97) is coming off a bumpy start in his last outing, which came against Boston on Aug. 21. Cleveland won the game 5-4, but Clevinger did not get the win. He was gone after 4 1/3 innings, having given up four runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks.

Clevinger has pitched well in his two starts against Kansas City this year, going 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA. In his four career appearances against the Royals, Clevinger is 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA.