CLEVELAND– Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis reflected on his time in Cleveland after being diagnosed with a season-ending injury.
The 32-year-old left Sunday’s game against the Twins with pain in his wrist and hand. He said he knew the pain was different, but wanted to finish at bat. Kipnis will have surgery on a fractured hamate bone by the same doctor who operated on Jose Ramirez’s hand earlier this season. Recovery time is typically four to six weeks.
Kipnis was drafted by the Indians in 2009 and made his major league debut two years later. This is the final year of his contract with the Tribe. He said no one is expecting Cleveland to pick up his option and there have been no talks with the club so far.
“I’m proud of the way I didn’t pack in or give up. I kept competing and refused to be a non-factor this year. I knew it was my last year and I knew this team needed me to step up so I’m happy that I kept at it and turned the season around,” Kipnis said. “Became a big part of catching the Twins in the middle of the year and this push at the end.”
He said he’s proud of a lot things from his time with Cleveland, including the three-straight American League Central titles, the 2016 World Series run, and his connection with teammates and the community.
“I think one of the most unfortunate parts of this is that I don’t get to kind of finish what I started here eight years ago with a bunch of guys, the mission.”
The players in the clubhouse have changed a lot over the last eight years. He mentioned being close with Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes Lonnie Chisenhall and Josh Tomlin, and a moment during spring training where he and Corey Kluber looked around to see so many new faces.
“I think we turned around a franchise, turned around an organization. We raised the bar here and sometimes I fell short of the high standards we set here, and I’m OK with that. I’m proud that there are higher standards here,” Kipnis said.
With his future uncertain, Kipnis said he feels he has a lot to offer teams, but Cleveland will always be special.
“It’s been a thrill to be here. I’ve loved this city from day one and it’ll be missed, it’ll be hard to part ways and it will always be a part of me,” Kipnis said. “It’s been an absolute joy to play here.”