Indians facing roster decision with Carrera
PHOENIX -- The Indians are taking a close look at Ezequiel Carrera this spring in the competition for the fourth outfielder role. Given that Carrera is out of Minor League options, Cleveland essentially has two choices: place him on the active roster or risk losing him in waivers.
"We don't doubt for one second that we'd lose him," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
That belief is based on the versatility that Carrera can offer Cleveland or a team that attempts to claim the outfielder off the waiver wire. Carrera has the ability to play all three outfield positions and he can offer a blend of speed and consistent contact off the bench.
The Indians have their projected starting outfield set with left fielder Michael Brantley, centert fielder Michael Bourn and right fielder Drew Stubbs. Consider all three starters can handle center field, Cleveland can potentially go with a fourth outfielder only capable of playing the corner spots.
A few candidates able to handle the corners include Ryan Raburn, Ben Francisco, Yan Gomes, Chris McGuiness and Jeremy Hermida.
The fact that the 25-year-old Carrera is out of options adds a wrinkle to the situation.
"It's an important answer we have to find out this spring," Francona said. "He's potentially a very good fit on our ballclub, and we need to find out. If not, we'll lose him."
If the Indians do not place Carrera on their Opening Day roster, the ballclub could explore trading him to another team at the end of the spring.
Carrera went 0-for-2 in Monday's game against the A's at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, but the outfielder did belt a solo home run in Sunday's 7-4 victory over the Brewers.
Last season, Carrera hit .272 with two home runs, eight stolen bases, 11 RBIs and 20 runs scored in 48 games for Cleveland. With Triple-A Columbus last year, he hit .294 with six homers, 26 stolen bases, 31 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs and 65 runs across 97 games for the Clippers.
Over the winter, Carrera hit .286 with seven extra-base hits, eight stolen bases, eight RBIs and 22 runs scored in 30 games with Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League.
"There's a lot to like there," Francona said.
Brantley departs early with left forearm injury
PHOENIX -- Indians left fielder Michael Brantley took a chance and paid a painful price.
In the third inning of Monday's 14-10 win over the A's, Brantley doubled to left field, slowed down as he rounded second base and noticed there was no one covering third. Brantley hustled and slid headfirst into the bag, but he suffered a laceration on his left forearm after being accidentally spiked on the play by third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Brantley exited the game and received stitches at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix before returning to the Indians' spring complex in Goodyear, Ariz.
"He'll be fine," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We've got a long spring, so it'll be OK."
Brantley is considered day to day with the injury, and Francona indicated that the team would have more information on Tuesday.
After the acquisition of center fielder Michael Bourn, the Indians shifted the 25-year-old Brantley out of center and into left field. Last season, Brantley enjoyed a breakout campaign, hitting .288 with a .348 on-base percentage, six homers, 37 doubles, 60 RBIs and 63 runs scored in 149 games for Cleveland.
Brantley has been off to a torrid start this spring, too. Including Monday's performance, Brantley has gone 5-for-6 at the plate with four doubles and two RBIs in three Cactus League games.
Santana gets first-hand look at Bauer's warmup
PHOENIX -- Carlos Santana had seen pitcher Trevor Bauer's unique warm-up ritual on television, but now the Indians catcher has experienced it firsthand.
During Sunday's 7-4 win over the Brewers, Bauer put his pre-inning routine on display for the first time as a member of the Tribe. For his first warm-up pitch, the young starter rushes forward from behind the mound, does a crow hop over the rubber and throws the ball as hard as he can toward home plate.
Santana knew it was coming.
"Oh, yeah," Santana said with a smile. "I'm ready for everything."
Santana stood to receive the ball and said he set himself up a couple extra steps behind home plate. Following that first warm-up pitch, the 22-year-old Bauer returns to the mound and works through a more typical process.
Santana had no issues with Bauer's different approach.
"Every pitcher, every player has a routine," Santana said. "This is his routine. If he's comfortable doing that, it's OK. I respect his routine."
The Indians acquired Bauer from the D-backs in a December trade that involved the Reds and resulted in nine players switching uniforms. Last season, Bauer went just 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four outings with Arizona, but was 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings between stops at Double-A and Triple-A.
In his spring debut, Bauer turned in two shutout innings against the Brewers, finishing with two hits allowed, two strikeouts and no walks.
"He did a great job," Santana said.
Quote to note
"They're huge. If they pitch like they're capable, it makes it easier on everybody else. They're going to be asked to shoulder a huge load. They're going to match up against the other teams' two best pitchers. The deeper they get into games, it gives us a better chance to win."
--Francona, on Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez
• Francona described Tuesday's home game against the Royals as a "bullpen day" for his pitchers. Right-handed reliever Matt Albers will start the game for Cleveland, and will be followed by closer Chris Perez, Bryan Shaw and Scott Barnes, among others.
"I just thought that Matt wouldn't alter his approach," said Francona, explaining why Albers was named the starter. "He's been doing it long enough where he wouldn't get thrown off by the start. That's the only reason."
• This early in the spring slate, Francona is not getting overly wrapped up in the readings on radar guns. Francona and his coaching staff pay attention to pitch velocity, but that element will become more important as the Indians get deeper into the preseason schedule.
"It's a little early," Francona said. "It's not the end all, be all, but I certainly look at it. We try to look at everything. It's kind of stating the obvious, but the harder you throw, the more margin you normally have for error. But ,that's not necessarily always true, either."
• Indians' single-game tickets went on sale Monday at 10 a.m. ET and the team's April 8 home opener against the Yankees sold out in six minutes. This will mark the 21st consecutive home-opening sellout for the ballclub. Fans wanting to attend the opener can still secure tickets through full-season ticket packages.
• The Indians will be holding a select-a-seat event from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on March 16 at Progressive Field for Tribe fans interested in season, group or party-area tickets for the upcoming season. The event will give fans the chance to check out available seats. For more information, check Indians.com.