CLEVELAND - Jason Kipnis appears to be acclimating to his new role as the Cleveland Indians' starting center fielder quite well.
Just three innings into the Indians' playoffs opener, Kipnis provided an early contender for the defensive play of the postseason when he made a diving catch to rob Yankees' designated hitter Chase Headley of what would have otherwise been an extra-base hit to leadoff the top of the third inning in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday night.
Cleveland starting pitcher Trevor Bauer proceeded to strikeout Aaron Hicks before getting Brett Gardner to ground out to shortstop as the Indians' preserved the 1-0 lead over the Yankees they had acquired just a half-inning earlier.
After spending the better part of his first seven seasons in the big leagues as a second baseman, Kipnis converted to the outfield as he returned from a hamstring injury in September. With the Indians' infield having acquired newfound chemistry throughout the team's historic 22-game winning streak -- which coincided with Kipnis' absence -- manager Terry Francona opted to start the 2-time All-Star in center field following injuries suffered by Bradley Zimmer and Michael Brantley.
So far, Francona's faith in Kipnis at his new position seems to be paying off.
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