Bradley Zimmer is finally coming into view and 3 more things about the Cleveland Indians


CLEVELAND, Ohio – The cloudy image of the Indian outfield is starting to brighten. In fact, outfield manager Terry Francona who started on Monday night against the Pirates could be the one to open the 60-game regular season Friday night against Kansas City at Progressive Field.

Monday’s outfield had Oscar Mercado in center, Tyler Naquin on the right and Bradley Zimmer on the left. No surprise with Mercado. The front office has said since the end of last season that he would be a starting outfielder. They just didn’t know what position.

Naquin in the right was a bit stretchy because he had ACL surgery on his right knee in September. But it was clear from Spring Training I that if there was a way for him to get back his good work in the field, he would find it.

The real surprise is Zimmer. It’s worth noting that the team hasn’t made any announcements on their final 30-man roster, but the tea leaves are here to be read. If it was a normal season, Zimmer would be in class AAA Columbus en route to 400 at-bats to make up for nearly two seasons lost to injury.

This season, however, is anything but normal. The minor leagues were closed and Zimmer was on fire in Spring Training II. He is .555 (10 in 18) with four homers and seven RBIs in eight intrasquad games heading into Monday night’s game against Pittsburgh.

“We were hoping,” Francona said. asked about Zimmer’s performance. “We’ve always said we love what’s in it. It can impact the game just about anywhere. We were concerned about its quantity of bats. He hasn’t really played much in two years. This still worries us some. But I don’t know how to fix it this year. We start from what we start.

Two other developments made it possible to better control the outfield. Daniel Johnson was reassigned to Classic Park in Eastlake on Monday with right-hander Daniel Hernandez. Jordan Luplow, meanwhile, was scheduled to play the final four or five innings on Monday night. Luplow missed last week with lower back pain and there were concerns he might not be ready for the season opener. If all goes well, Luplow will start in the outfield against the Pirates on Wednesday at PNC Park.

Johnson hit .294 (5-for-17) with two homers and four RBIs in Spring Training II. In Spring Training I, he hit .267 (4 for 15) with three RBIs.

“We told him that for spring training this year at Goodyear we had him behind a significant number of other guys just because of his position in his career,” said Francona, who met Johnson on Monday. “Then, coming into this camp, he made it really difficult. We tried to explain to him that sometimes you send guys and it’s overwhelming. Other times you just tell them that it might not be their time yet, but it might be just on the horizon. I didn’t want him to get lost in the disappointment that he didn’t make the club so impressive.

Franmil Reyes, Domingo Santana, Jake Bauers and Greg Allen are among the other outfielders still at camp. Delino DeShields is expected to open on the injured list as he recovers from the coronavirus.

The list is reduced to 34. It must be at 30 at noon Thursday.

Francona also told reporters wide receiver Beau Taylor will not be with the Big League club. He will remain in the big league camp and serve as a catcher on the tribe’s taxi team on road trips.

Indian third baseman Jose Ramirez.Joshua Gunter,

# 1: Indians are not going to change hitters

The Indians used four switch-hitters at the top of the control for most of Spring Training II. Francona said he would not change now.

“To start the season, that’s probably what we’re going to do,” he said. “I know it can hurt a certain balance when the paddock guys come in. But the idea is to beat the starter. These are probably our top four players who take everything into consideration, whether it’s speed, base or power. This probably gives us the best way to win a game. ”

The roster’s top four hitters will be Cesar Hernandez, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana. Francona said if something goes wrong he can always mix up the lineup.

Indian right-hander Mike Clevinger.AP

# 2: How much rope does Mike Clevinger have?

Francona has said he would like to see Clevinger make five innings Monday night against the Pirates in his last start before the regular season. Clevinger, still overcoming a few issues in his delivery, needed 80 throws to pass four innings on his last start.

“We try to go five, depending on the length of the innings and things like that,” Francona said. “Some pitchers were a little more advanced than others, but I think five is a good mark for him.

The Indians are close to finalizing their pitching squad, but Francona said they have another meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Clevinger is in line to start the second game of the season on Saturday.

Cleveland Indians Summer Camp, July 8, 2020

Indian Manager Terry Francona.John Kuntz,

# 3: How good will play be at the start of the 60-game season?

Francona felt that the weather would be easier because summer is here. Originally, the MLB would open the season on March 26.

“We’re not going to face the first four weeks of difficult weather conditions,” Francona said. “Having said that, it’s a different atmosphere. When we talked to our group about the start of these real games, with or without people, the speed of the game increases. And without the reps, teams are going to make mistakes, so we want to make sure that we are handling the bases with strength and intelligence, and not trying to do too much defense, withdrawal. Because like I said, when the game picks up, guys are going to make mistakes, especially this first week. ”

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A variety of Cleveland Indian face masks available online today. (

New Indian masks for sale: Here’s where you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB profits are donated to charity.

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