CLEVELAND -- Nyjer Morgan prides himself on being a catalyst for a lineup and an entertainer for the fans. So far this season, the outfielder has performed well in both regards while filling in for injured Indians center fielder Michael Bourn.
"The only way I know how to play is just with energy," Morgan said. "It feels good just being in this position, just holding down the fort for Mikey Bourn for him to get back. I'm just trying to fit in and do what I can to help this team get to the playoffs."
In Tuesday's 8-6 victory over the Padres, Morgan contributed two RBIs, collected three hits and reached base four times for Cleveland. Through six games, the outfielder has hit .389 (7-for-18) with three runs, four RBIs, six walks and a .520 on-base percentage.
Indians manager Terry Francona has been happy with Morgan's results, especially considering Bourn is still rehabbing a left hamstring injury in the Minors.
"He's been on base I think more than half the time," Francona said. "That's the biggest thing. After that, he can't really control whether we drive him in, but he's been on base a ton. That's been great."
Morgan has done what he can to keep his over-the-top alter ego, Tony Plush, at bay, but the outfielder has slipped into his famous character a few times this season.
"I'm trying to stay humble, trying to keep my buddy T. Plush from coming back from vacation," Morgan said with a laugh. "He's around. He's around."
Fans at Progressive Field have seemingly jumped on board the Morgan train, especially after hearing his walk-up music on Tuesday night. Morgan and his wife were watching WWE's "Monday Night Raw" earlier this week and saw the audience's reaction to Daniel Bryan's entrance music. The crowd raises their arms and repeatedly chants, "Yes!"
On Tuesday, fans inside Cleveland's ballpark reacted the same when Morgan used the song.
"I had to come out to the Daniel Bryan [song]," Morgan said. "I know he's the People's Champ, but I like to call myself the People's Champ, too."
Morgan is clearly having fun, but he is trying to keep things under control and in perspective.
"I know myself," Morgan said. "This is probably the most comfortable I've felt in my six years in the bigs. I know myself and I know what I'm capable of doing. I'm not trying to get ahead of myself. I'm not trying to be someone that I'm not."
Bourn better, could be back by Sunday
CLEVELAND -- Indians center fielder Michael Bourn is feeling good and believes he is closing in on the finish line to his injury rehab.
Following Wednesday's doubleheader against the Padres, Bourn was in Cleveland's clubhouse and was in good spirits. The outfielder tested his left hamstring in a Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, and he is scheduled to play consecutive nine-inning games with Double-A Akron on Thursday and Friday.
In a best-case scenario, Bourn said he might be able to activated from the 15-day disabled list as early as Sunday. With a team off-day scheduled for Monday, there is also the chance that Cleveland waits until it opens its three-game road series with the Tigers, beginning on Tuesday.
"It felt good," Bourn said of his latest rehab game at Columbus. "I ran down the line three times, made good strides. I felt smooth running down to first base. I'll just pick it back up [Thursday] where I left off."
Bourn injured his hamstring while running the bases in a Spring Training game against the Giants on March 16 and has been taking things slow since that setback. It is the same hamstring Bourn had surgically repaired on Oct. 15, but both the center fielder and the Indians have indicated that the injuries are unrelated.
"I'll just continue to try to make strides on it," Bourn said, "take it one day at a time, strengthen it and hopefully be back to join the team. ... I'm trying to be patient and make the right decision and let my leg tell me what to do best. It's still a long season. It's early."
Quote to note
"I think he's real tough on himself. I think that's part of what makes him good and, at the same time, can probably make you go crazy."
-- Indians manager Terry Francona, on reliever Vinnie Pestano
• Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi (on the 15-day disabled list with a broken rib in his right side) is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Friday. The 43-year-old Giambi is eligible for activation on Monday.
• Tribe closer John Axford recently had fans vote online for his entrance music, and the winning song was revealed when he entered the ninth inning of Tuesday's 8-6 win over the Padres. Axford will head to the hill to Rush's "Working Man" this season.
• Indians pitching prospect Dylan Baker, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, turned in six perfect innings in a 7-0 win for Class A Advanced Carolina on Tuesday. Baker picked up the win, but Carolina's bullpen yielded two hits over the last three innings.