Straw fan of Cleveland club, leadoff spot

Bradley, Morgan set for Monday returns; Indians sign all 21 Draft picks

August 1st, 2021

CHICAGO -- Indians outfielder got to Guaranteed Rate Field just under two hours before Saturday’s 12-11 victory over the White Sox and quickly made a strong first impression with his new team, launching a solo homer in the third inning of his second game on Sunday.

Just a day prior to his race to report to his new team, Straw was out eating with former Astros teammate Kyle Tucker when his phone rang.

“It was probably 10 minutes before the Trade Deadline,” Straw said. “I was like, ‘Oh man, I’m getting traded.’ I answered it. [Astros general manager James Click] told me the news. It’s crazy, just a bunch of emotions, since I’ve been [with Houston] since 2015. Ever since I got drafted, I’ve been there.”

Straw wasn’t expecting to be moved, but once the news sunk in, he started to get excited about his new opportunity. The Indians need a steady, everyday outfielder and the organization already expressed it had been trying to acquire the 26-year-old for over a year. Straw's exceptional defense and speed are assets the club is looking forward to boasting.

“I talked to Michael Brantley a lot about the organization,” Straw said. “He’s had nothing but good things to say. I’m happy to be here now. It’s a young, very exciting team. This team competes every year. They’re always in the race. I’m glad to come to a contending team, and hopefully I can contribute with that.”

And after a long day of travel, Straw showed up just in time to take part in a long, back-and-forth battle against the White Sox. In his Cleveland debut, Straw went 1-for-5 and batted leadoff.

“To play a game like that against a really good baseball team, coming here and having that kind of game with this kind of team is awesome,” Straw said after the game. “I got to meet everybody today. I already know a few of the guys on the team. It’s been great so far. They’ve welcomed me with open arms. It was a great first day.”

Although he was penciled into the eighth spot in the order for Sunday's rubber match, the Indians believe he could be a regular option out of the leadoff spot moving forward.

“I like it,” Straw said. “I’ve done it, usually, my whole life, growing up and a lot through the Minor Leagues. I’m a fan of it. I approach it the same way. I was hitting eighth and ninth a lot in Houston. You just have to take the at-bats the same, whether you’re hitting first, fourth, ninth or pinch-hitting. Realistically, I feel like it’s the same for me. You just have to be ready from Pitch One.”

Bradley, Morgan to return Monday

First baseman Bobby Bradley (who was on the bereavement list) and starter Eli Morgan are set to rejoin Cleveland in Toronto on Monday. The Indians are expected to announce corresponding moves postgame on Sunday before heading to Canada.

Freeman out with shoulder strain

Tyler Freeman, ranked as Cleveland’s No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, may be out for the season. The shortstop sustained a shoulder strain that is being looked at by doctors to understand what his rehab process will look like.

“We’re in the process of trying to get an assessment and get second opinions and things like that,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “I don’t expect that he’s going to return any time soon.”

Indians ink all draftees

Cleveland announced on Sunday that it officially signed 20th-round Draft pick Jake Miller before the signing deadline. And after already having inked its first 20 picks last week, the team now has signed all 21 selections from the 2021 MLB Draft. According to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, Miller signed for $300,000.

Clarity on Tito’s win/loss record

Terry Francona was in the thick of chasing down Lou Boudreau as the club’s all-time managerial wins leader when Francona announced that he was stepping away for the rest of the 2021 season to focus on his health. He’s six wins shy of the record, but for now, his own managerial ledger is frozen.

According to the team and the Elias Sports Bureau, the rest of Cleveland’s wins this season will essentially go into escrow until it's determined whether Francona is returning as the Indians' skipper in 2022. If he returns, all wins from July 30 through the end of the season will be credited to Francona. Otherwise, those victories will go to acting manager DeMarlo Hale.