Indians’ Encarnacion ‘much better,’ eyeing post-season return

Cleveland Indians' Edwin Encarnacion grimaces after rolling his ankle trying to get back to second base in the second inning against the New York Yankees in Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Cleveland. (David Dermer/AP)

NEW YORK — Even on their days off, things keep going right for the Cleveland Indians.

Slugger Edwin Encarnacion is hoping to play again this post-season 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.

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.

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