CLEVELAND - Michael Bourn walked into Indians manager Terry Francona's office determined to play. He left with his mind changed.
A sprained right wrist kept Cleveland's center fielder out of the starting lineup for the Indians' final regular-season home game. Bourn jammed his wrist sliding into second base in the fifth inning of Tuesday night's 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. While the injury is not believed to be serious, Francona wants his leadoff hitter to get some rest so he can come back at full speed.
The Indians are clinging to the second spot in the AL wild-card standings with five games left, but Francona wants Bourn as healthy as possible. He admired the outfielder's desire to play, but overruled him.
"I know where we're at in the standings and all that," Francona said. "But I think we're best served by letting him get some treatment so when he does play he can Bournie and not part Bournie, but I love his attitude. He's a tough little kid, man."
Bourn, who signed a four-year, $48 million free-agent deal with the Indians in February, doesn't think he'll miss much time as the Indians try to secure their first postseason appearance since 2007. He's batting .260 with six homers, 48 RBIs and 23 steals. Bourn has been one of the Indians' top hitters since the All-Star break and leads the club with 29 RBIs in the second half.
Francona said Bourn will likely wear a protective brace when he runs the bases, and there's a chance he could be used as a pinch-runner against the White Sox.
Bourn, who was a two-time All-Star with Atlanta, said he's not surprised by the way the Indians have gelled.
"I knew we were talented, it's all about coming together," he said. "We've got a lot of talented people in here, but you know we have to play on one heartbeat. That's what we've been able to do and have had success doing it."