Francona optimistic Lindor can beat timetable

Indians shortstop sustained strained right calf before spring camp

February 14th, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When the Indians announced that shortstop had strained his right calf prior to Spring Training, it seemed unlikely he'd be with the team on Opening Day, but manager Terry Francona remains optimistic.

After Lindor was evaluated at the Cleveland Clinic on Feb. 6, it was said he'd likely return to Major League game activity in seven to nine weeks, which would be between March 27 (the eve of Opening Day) and April 10.

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"I know they put a timetable and it's probably not fair," Francona said. "I'm betting on the under, just knowing Frankie. He's such in good shape, he's young, he works. He'll be fine."

Lindor arrived at the Tribe's Spring Training facility on Thursday afternoon, making the transition from Orlando, Fla., to Goodyear to continue his rehab. He sustained the injury while doing land-based agility activities, and he informed head athletic trainer James Quinlan about the discomfort on Feb. 4.

Francona said the team will likely use a mix of , , and in Lindor's absence, and Francona was clear that Jose Ramirez will not be getting reps at shortstop.

Position battles

The Indians experienced more turnover this offseason than in recent years, but Francona said that having so many new faces will not be used as an excuse. However, the challenges the Tribe now face are getting to know the new players and filling vacancies in the roster.

"It's a little tricky, you can't just say there's an open competition, like whoever hits .300 is going to be your utility player," Francona said. "It doesn't work that way. But, one, you want to see if, physically, they match up with where they've been in the past, what your needs are as a team, who fits, and then how do you think what they're doing here translates to the regular season.

"Like we told the pitchers today, 'There's a time when you're gonna ask to compete. It's not right now because if you try to do it too quick and you end up in the training room, you're not gonna be able to compete.' So, they have to fight that. It's a natural tendency. You come in, you want to show what you can do. We want to see them do it into March, so they can do it into August and September."

Expectations for Salazar

Right-hander said earlier this week that his goal is to be back on the mound by the end of Spring Training, in hopes of pitching in a Major League game before the All-Star break. But Francona's top priority is to get Salazar reacquainted with his team.

"Our goals for Danny this spring are to incorporate him more into our team activities, even though he's on his own program, kind of re-acclimating him with his teammates because we think it'll help the process moving along," Francona said. "You won't see him out there so often early by himself. He may be doing something different, but it'll be with our pitchers."

Three more invited to the party

The Indians announced they signed free-agent catcher and right-hander to Minor League contracts with non-roster invitations to Major League Spring Training. Infielder Ernie Clement also received an invite.

Federowicz, 31, spent the majority of last season with Houston's and Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliates, and he hit a combined .297 with 19 doubles, seven homers and 31 RBIs in 61 games. He played in 10 games for the Astros and in five for the Reds in 2018.

Wojciechowski, 29, also split his 2018 season between two organizations. The righty began the year playing for the Norfolk Tides, Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate, going 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 19 games, including 12 starts. After he was released by the Orioles, Wojciechowski was signed by the White Sox to a Minor League contract, and he went 0-5 with a 7.01 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Charlotte.

Clement, 22, was the Indians' fourth-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft out of the University of Virginia. He spent the 2018 season with Class A Lake County and Lynchburg, along with Double-A Akron. In 33 games at Lynchburg, Clement hit .346 with 13 RBIs, 15 walks and seven doubles.