GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona said to expect at least one non-roster invitee to make the club’s Opening Day roster, and Tyler Clippard looked like one of the top candidates to do so. But now, the Indians are holding their breath.
In the Indians’ 7-1 victory over the Rockies on Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark, Clippard was removed due to right pectoral tightness in the sixth inning.
With two outs and Nolan Arenado at the plate, the right-hander threw a breaking ball and immediately looked down at his arm and pointed to his shoulder/pectoral area. The training staff came out to briefly evaluate him on the mound before pulling him from the game.
“We’re gonna have to see,” Francona said. “He doesn’t think it’s very serious. He thinks we got him out of there before he did something. That’s the hope. We’ll obviously know more tomorrow.”
Entering Saturday, Clippard had worked two scoreless frames for the Tribe this spring. Outside of Brad Hand, Francona has not named another reliever who has a guaranteed spot in the Tribe’s bullpen. After losing arms like Cody Allen and Andrew Miller in the offseason, Clippard’s experience could play a huge role among the Indians’ relievers.
In 12 Major League seasons, the 34-year-old has pitched to a 3.16 career ERA, averaging 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings. The team is waiting for him to be reevaluated on Sunday to determine his status.
Bieber stays sharp
Through three starts, Shane Bieber has looked extremely sharp. On Saturday, he tossed four shutout innings, allowed one hit and struck out four batters to earn the win. The 23-year-old has a 1.00 ERA through nine frames this spring.
“Man, you know what? The development of his changeup, I mean he’s improving right in front of our eyes,” Francona said. “He is really buckling down on that, not that he doesn’t buckle down on everything else. It’s going to make him a better pitcher.”
Francona said that Bradley Zimmer was scheduled to throw from the outfield to bases on either Saturday or Sunday. He was also expected to get some at-bats in the simulated game at the team’s facility Saturday afternoon. Francona is unsure whether he will be able to play before the Indians break camp.
Francisco Lindor took part in the team’s infield and batting practices Saturday afternoon. Francona said that Lindor’s plan was to join Zimmer in getting some at-bats in Saturday’s simulated game as well.
After getting hit in the helmet by a pitch in the ninth inning of Friday night’s 2-0 loss to the Giants, Mark Mathias was cleared Saturday morning when he returned to the Tribe’s Spring Training facility.
The training staff said Mathias looked OK immediately after getting hit, but they wanted to make sure he had a symptom-free night before he was officially cleared. Francona kept him out of Saturday’s game for precautionary reasons.
The Indians will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound for the first time this spring on Sunday to start against right-hander Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. First pitch is slated for 4:10 p.m. ET at Peoria Stadium.