Kipnis and Brantley expected to return to Indians lineup this week

The Indians will get a boost when their two best players, Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, return this week.

Breathe easy, Tribe fans — the Indians' two best players are slated to return this week.

Second baseman Jason Kipnis and outfielder Michael Brantley are both expected to return to the Indians lineup as early as Monday.

Brantley will likely serve as the team's designated hitter Monday night as the team opens a series with the Red Sox in Boston, according to MLB.com. Kipnis could be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, but manager Terry Francona would like to see him DH for a game or two before returning to second base, which causes somewhat of an issue.

"We can't have two DHs," Francona told reporters on Sunday.

"He's doing great," Francona said of Kipnis (via MLB.com). "Depending on how [Brantley] is, he might be available to DH [on Monday]. … Kip, I don't even know if we'd activate him [Monday] or not — it's going to be close. He certainly can be activated, but he's not ready to play second. The medical staff, I think, would like to see him throw to bases first, just to make sure he's fine. I think Kip's kind of champing at the bit, which I don't blame him. We'll get it figured out."

The team is not considering a minor-league rehab appearance for Kipnis.

"I don't think he needs it," Francona said. "He's been hitting pretty much most of the time. The only time he was down was when he got that [cortisone shot a couple weeks ago]. And, if he felt like he needed it, he would've said it."

(h/t MLB.com)