Last year the Indians had a hard time finding someone to replace Asdrubal Cabrera when the All-Star shortstop needed a break because of fatigue or injury. It's not like they didn't try.

Juan Diaz, Jason Donald, Brent Lillibridge, Jack Hannahan and Cord Phelps all took a crack at the job, but none were considered the solution.

This season Mike Aviles has turned the lottery into a one-man show. When Cabrera tore his right quadriceps muscle running to first base at Yankee Stadium on June 3, Aviles moved from third to shortstop and hasn't left.

"I was ecstatic when (General Manager Chris Antonetti) traded for him and I'm just as happy today," manager Terry Francona said when asked about Aviles.

The Indians acquired Aviles and catcher Yan Gomes from Toronto for right-hander Esmil Rogers on Nov. 3.

Aviles is hitting .200 (11-for-55) with one homer and five RBI in 15 games since replacing Cabrera. Overall, he's hitting .273 (44-for-161) with eight doubles, four homers and 23 RBI.

"I've always prepared myself like I'm going to play every day and adjust from there," said Aviles, who started the season as a utility player. "It makes it easier in the event you do have to play every day.

"If you do it the other way ... prepare to be a utility guy and then have to play every day, you can get tired really quick."

After Sunday, the Indians start an 11-game, 12-day trip. Cabrera will travel with the team and could be activated at some point during the journey.

"I know Tito (Francona) likes the fact that he can throw me in there and we can still compete," said Aviles. "My biggest thing is when Cabbie went down, no one wants to lose a guy like that. He's a two-time All-Star and you can't replace a two-time All-Star.

"My thing was not to try and be Cabbie, or play like Cabbie, but to play my game and help the team win. I just want to try and keep the chains moving."

The Indians, entering Saturday night's game against the Twins, were 7-8 since Aviles replaced Cabrera.

Take it easy: There's already speculation about what starting pitcher will go when Zach McAllister comes off the disabled list. McAllister, however, still isn't close to being activated as he recovers from a sprained right middle finger.

He's playing catch at 105 feet wearing a protective device on his finger. He'll get stretched out to 120 feet and then restart the throwing program without protection on the finger.