Indians activate speedy outfielder Michael Bourn

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are getting some speed back to help in their run at the playoffs.

Cleveland activated center fielder Michael Bourn from the disabled list Friday, giving them their quick leadoff hitter and a player capable of making things happen on the base paths and in the outfield.

Bourn, who has slowed by a nagging left hamstring injury all season, had been on the DL since July 6 because of lingering issues with the hamstring, which he had surgery on last October. He recently had rehab stints with Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus and the Indians activated him for their series opener Friday night against the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles.

"I'm happy he's back and I think he's probably thrilled," manager Terry Francona said. "I know he worked really hard to get back, and not just to get back because he understands the importance of how his legs can impact the game."

In his second season with Cleveland, the two-time All-Star is batting .267 with 7 triples, 3 home runs, 21 RBI and 37 runs. The Indians were hoping for more from Bourn, who signed a four-year, $48 million during spring training in 2013. But his hamstring has prevented Bourn from doing what he does best -- wreaking havoc with his speed.

Bourn was not in the starting lineup Friday and Francona said the 31-year-old will likely play the next two days as long as he doesn't have any problems.

"He cares," Francona said. "He really wants to be able to do the right thing and he understands how he helps us win, and again, having that speed back will be really good. But we want to make sure we didn't rush it and get back to where he can't move around."

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the medical information they've received is that Bourn should not have any lingering issues with the hamstring.

"We're hopeful he'll get past them, but he's obviously had recurring issues with his hamstring and his lower body," Antonetti said.

"Michael has much as any player is reliant upon his speed to impact the game. Offensively, on the bases and defensively his legs are a huge part of his contributions. Based upon the information we're receiving from the medical experts, they don't feel linger going forward. But we'll have to see how it plays out."

Bourn took the roster spot vacated Thursday when reliever John Axford was awarded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on waivers.

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