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Lindor talks injury, potential extension at camp

Shortstop rehabbing right calf injury as full-squad workouts start
MLB.com @MandyBell02

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Francisco Lindor may be battling through the first serious injury of his big league career, but his positivity has not been hindered.

"Every day so far has been successful," Lindor said on Monday at Indians camp. "I have made an improvement on a daily basis, which is what I want. I want to get better every single day. And at the end of the day I want to check the box and say, 'It's a successful day.' So far it's been like that. Thank the Lord."

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Francisco Lindor may be battling through the first serious injury of his big league career, but his positivity has not been hindered.

"Every day so far has been successful," Lindor said on Monday at Indians camp. "I have made an improvement on a daily basis, which is what I want. I want to get better every single day. And at the end of the day I want to check the box and say, 'It's a successful day.' So far it's been like that. Thank the Lord."

Lindor suffered a moderate calf strain at the beginning of February while doing agility drills in Orlando, Fla., in preparation for camp. As he was running back and forth, he said he felt a pain in his right leg that had never occurred before, prompting him to immediately stop his workout. When he was evaluated on Feb. 6 at the Cleveland Clinic, he was given the time frame of seven to nine weeks before he could return to Major League game activity, which he said he's hoping to beat but won't push to rush back too quickly.

"It's funny with time frames -- you never know," Lindor said. "There's people that make it way before that and there's people that are not even close to it. To be honest, I just want to be focusing on what I've got to do on a daily basis and if I come back in four weeks, you'll be taking pictures out there. If I come back in nine weeks, you'll still be taking pictures, so it doesn't matter when I come back. As long as I come back and I can stay on the field on a daily basis to help my team win, that's what matters."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Lindor had a chance to go to arbitration this offseason, but he was able to settle with the Indians on a one-year, $10.55 million contract. When asked on Monday why he didn't go to a hearing, the All-Star shortstop had an easy answer.

"Did you see the number? It's pretty good," Lindor said. "I'll take it. I'm blessed to play this game and get paid for it. It's a blessing."

But what about a long-term extension with Cleveland? Lindor said it's not something that he's focused on.

"When it comes to long-term deals, I love the city of Cleveland," Lindor said. "I love everything about Cleveland. I love messing with you guys. We'll see. We'll see what happens. At the end of the day, I'm playing the game to win. This is a good place where I can win, so we'll see. If the Indians come up with the right numbers and at some point it happens -- which, I'm not even thinking about it -- we'll see."

As the rest of his team took the field for its first full-squad workout on Monday, Lindor continues his rigorous rehab schedule. He said he typically shows up at the Indians' training facility to begin his work between 6:15 to 7 a.m. and doesn't leave until about 4 p.m. He is not running and has spent a lot of time doing exercises in the pool.

"[It's] longer than a typical day with regular work," Lindor said of his rehab schedule. "It's nonstop. The trainers are doing a great job to keep me entertained."

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

Cleveland Indians, Francisco Lindor

Notes: Tito gives speech; Kipnis named starter

MLB.com @MandyBell02

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It's a moment Indians manager Terry Francona stresses about for weeks.

Prior to Monday's first full-squad workout, Francona gave his annual preseason speech, addressing his team as a whole for the first time this year. With a plethora of new faces staring back at him, he wanted to make sure he relayed exactly how he felt.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It's a moment Indians manager Terry Francona stresses about for weeks.

Prior to Monday's first full-squad workout, Francona gave his annual preseason speech, addressing his team as a whole for the first time this year. With a plethora of new faces staring back at him, he wanted to make sure he relayed exactly how he felt.

"I feel it sets the tone for how we're going to carry ourselves as a team, how we're going to attack challenges," Francona said. "And for the guys who have been here it's a reminder. For the new guys, I think it's fair so when they get on the field, they understand what our expectations are when you're an Indian. … But I still get butterflies."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Francona told the team that at Spring Training players can be broken into three groups: those who are trying to create a good first impression, those who are competing for jobs, and the veterans who are getting ready for the long season. He noted that this team has more players in that middle group than in years past.

"We talk a lot about that middle group, because there's a lot of good players in there and there's not as many spots," Francona said. "That's just the reality of it. But there will be a need, it may not be on their timetable, but there will be a need. And their challenge is to embrace what we're doing and this culture and just make the best impression they can. Our promise back then is we'll be honest and conscientious in our communication with them."

Preparation for this moment doesn't begin at one specific time. Francona said when something randomly pops into his head that he considers a good message to convey, he immediately jots it down, even if he has to pull over to the side of the road while driving.

"I don't want to bore them," Francona said. "I don't want to have them sitting there and just have to listen to me talk, but I try to touch on the things that are important, knowing that we have all spring to build off of that."

Even if the Indians have experienced more turnover this offseason than any other during Francona's time in Cleveland, he said the overall message to his guys was the same as any other year.

"The way we feel about the game never changes, but we have to recognize we have more new guys than we've had," Francona said. "But every year you begin to grow your unique personality for that year, regardless of how many guys were back."

Video: Terry Francona discusses free-agent signings, bullpen

Kipnis named second baseman
In the first few days after players report to camp, Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff join Francona in sit-down meetings with each member of the team. When Jason Kipnis took his seat, he was officially informed he would be the club's starting second baseman this season.

"I think he's got something to prove," Francona said. "Even when you've been in the game seven or eight years, guys don't like not being as good as they can be. They've got a lot of pride, and I put him in that category."

Francona said Kipnis offered to go back and forth between second and the outfield during their meeting, which Francona appreciated but said was not in the Tribe's plan.

"I don't know how fair that is to him," Francona said. "And I told him that if something ever changes, that we'd talk to him."

Ramirez arrives slimmer
Jose Ramirez reported to camp 6 pounds lighter than what he was at the end of the season. He said his offseason schedule was the same, except he tried to eat a little less.

After finishing third in American League MVP voting the past two seasons, Ramirez said he's hoping to finally win the award.

"It's a motivation for [me]," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "[I] get a lot of press and stuff in [my] home in the Dominican, so playing for [my] family and getting all that press in the Dominican, it's just a great motivation."

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

Cleveland Indians, Jason Kipnis

Lindor's hair is electric blue this spring

This is a simple message, but it's one that warrants attention by its very nature: Francisco Lindor's hair is blue.

Like, really, really blue. Think of the most electric-blue cotton candy-type hue of blue, and you're on the right track. 

The Indians' Spring Training battle to watch

MLB.com

Stars might put fans in the seats, but baseball is a sport that rewards the most complete clubs. That's what makes Spring Training more than a series of exhibitions; big league jobs are on the line, and they could end up having a major impact on the season-end standings. 

The next five weeks will see lots of shuffling on Major League rosters. Here are the most intriguing positional battles on each of the 30 MLB clubs. 

Stars might put fans in the seats, but baseball is a sport that rewards the most complete clubs. That's what makes Spring Training more than a series of exhibitions; big league jobs are on the line, and they could end up having a major impact on the season-end standings. 

The next five weeks will see lots of shuffling on Major League rosters. Here are the most intriguing positional battles on each of the 30 MLB clubs. 

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Left field
Teoscar Hernandez and Billy McKinney are set to battle it out for the starting job. Hernandez offers a lot more power after slugging 22 home runs in 134 games last season. McKinney is the vastly superior defender, someone who draws walks and frequently puts the ball in play. The early favorite might be Hernandez, but this is also a make-or-break year for him in the outfield. The Dominican native wants to avoid being labeled as a designated hitter and this will be the spring to do it. -- Gregor Chisholm

Video: TOR@TB: Hernandez slugs a solo homer in the 6th

Orioles: Right field
Trey Mancini is ticketed for left, and Cedric Mullins has the inside track on claiming the center-field job. The O's right-field situation, though, is wide open. Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander, DJ Stewart and Austin Hays are the four immediate candidates, with the runner-up likely cracking the roster in a backup role. All come with big league experience; Rickard is the only member of the group without options. They'll battle it out in the shadow of top prospect Yusniel Diaz, who could be up in Baltimore as early as this summer. -- Joe Trezza

Rays: First base
When the Rays traded away Jake Bauers to Cleveland, they knew they would learn a lot about their situation at first base during the spring. But despite not having a proven first baseman on the roster, Tampa Bay remains optimistic that it has enough options for it to not be a problem. Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe will get the reps at first base during the spring. Choi, Diaz and Lowe all have the ability to play multiple positions for the Rays, which only adds to the versatility, but the big question of the spring will be which of the three steps up and solidifies a very important position for Tampa Bay. -- Juan Toribio

Red Sox: Catcher
The Red Sox have a wide-open race for the starting catcher spot. Last year, the club carried three catchers for most of the season in Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart. Vazquez and Leon essentially shared the position, with Swihart serving in more of a utility role. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager Alex Cora are both on record as saying that arrangement is no longer sustainable. One of the three will likely get traded, leaving the other two to battle for the top spot. Swihart has the most offensive upside in the group, and seems to be far more in the mix to win the job than he was a year ago. Swihart has made significant improvement defensively in the last year thanks to exhaustive work with catching instructors Jason Varitek and Chad Epperson. Leon is the best defender of the three, but his bat went nearly silent last season. Vazquez is coming off a down year at the plate but has a cannon arm. The area he needs to improve most at is game calling. -- Ian Browne

Video: Luke Voit primed for big 2019 season

Yankees: First base
Luke Voit has "a leg up" in the competition to serve as the Yankees' everyday first baseman, according to general manager Brian Cashman, by virtue of the terrific offense he provided in the second half of last season. Cashman has said that Voit was the most impactful bat moved ahead of the Trade Deadline, a group that included Manny Machado. Greg Bird will have an opportunity to reclaim the promise that he showed at the end of 2015, before injuries derailed his rise. -- Bryan Hoch

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Left field
Although who will take the job is unknown, it's almost certain that the Indians will only consider in-house candidates and not look to the free-agent market to sign an outfielder. The Tribe could dip into infielders Bauers, Carlos Santana or Jason Kipnis (though he was named the starting second baseman on Monday) if they feel they need extra depth in left, but the true race will come down to returning outfielders Tyler Naquin and Greg Allen, new addition Jordan Luplow and non-roster invitee Matt Joyce. -- Mandy Bell

Royals: Right field
This will be the most intriguing position battle in camp. Jorge Bonifacio, Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler and Brian Goodwin all will compete for the job. Do the Royals go offense there? That would be Soler. Do they go defense, which has been their mantra for years? That would be the speedy Phillips, who has an 80-grade arm. Further complicating matters is that Terrance Gore, their designated late-inning pinch-runner, will occupy a roster spot as an outfielder, meaning the Royals will have to decide whether to keep five or six outfielders (Alex Gordon, Billy Hamilton, Soler, Gore and Goodwin are locks). Phillips and Bonifacio have options, which could work against them. -- Jeffrey Flanagan

Video: Goodrum glad for 2018 opportunity, looks to improve

Tigers: Second base
Niko Goodrum was a revelation as a super-utility player last spring but settled into regular duty at second down the stretch last year. The Tigers must decide what role he's more valuable in. Dawel Lugo, widely seen as the second baseman of Detroit's future, will push to move up his timetable. Another utility player, Ronny Rodriguez, is in the competition, as is former White Sox second baseman and non-roster invite Gordon Beckham. -- Jason Beck

Twins: 25th roster spot
With the defensively limited Nelson Cruz needing a spot on the Twins' roster, positional flexibility will be at a premium on Minnesota's bench. Behind utility infielder Ehire Adrianza, who is out of options and is expected to earn a bench role, the Twins could currently have fourth outfielder Jake Cave and backup catcher Mitch Garver. But there are several contenders for a possible fourth bench role, including first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin -- who is also out of options and showed promising power last season -- utility infielder Ronald Torreyes and super-utility catcher Willians Astudillo, who impressed at the plate in September and could offer the Twins a second alternative to starting catcher Jason Castro, who hasn't appeared in a Major League game since his knee surgery last May. That's not to mention veterans Lucas Duda and Adam Rosales, who are in camp on Minor League deals and could also push for consideration. -- Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: Fifth starter
The White Sox traded for Manny Banuelos because they had enough interest to secure his services before he became a six-year free agent. The southpaw is out of options and could have a slight edge as Cactus League action approaches, but don't count out Dylan Covey or even Carson Fulmer, who is being viewed more as a reliever but has renewed confidence after returning to a delivery he used successfully at Vanderbilt. General manager Rick Hahn still might go out of the organization to find a more veteran candidate. -- Scott Merkin

AL WEST

Angels: Second base
The Angels will have a competition for the second-base job this spring, as David Fletcher is considered the favorite but will compete with prospect Luis Rengifo and veteran Tommy La Stella. Third baseman Taylor Ward is also in the mix, but if he wins the job it will mean Zack Cozart will open the year at third base. Cozart is practicing at third and second this spring to be prepared for both positions, depending on how the infield competition shakes out. -- Rhett Bollinger

Video: ALCS Gm4: James K's Devers on 5 100-plus-mph pitches

Astros: Fifth starter
The Astros filled one rotation spot by signing Wade Miley to a one-year deal a few weeks ago, but the spring will see an open audition for the fifth spot. The two to watch are hard-throwing Josh James and lefty Framber Valdez, both of whom weren't even in big league camp last year and pitched in key games down the stretch. Forrest Whitley, the top pitching prospect in baseball, is in the mix as well, but he'll probably make his debut later in the season. -- Brian McTaggart

Athletics: Rotation
At this point, only three starters in A's camp are guaranteed a rotation spot when camp breaks: Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada and Brett Anderson. The competition behind them is crowded. Daniel Mengden appears to be a leading candidate in a group that also includes the organization's top pitching prospect, Jesus Luzardo. Paul Blackburn, Parker Bridwell, Aaron Brooks, Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt can also be found on this lengthy list. Complicating matters is the short spring schedule; the A's leave for Tokyo in less than a month, which will likely force them to speed up the decision process. -- Jane Lee

Mariners: First base
Ryon Healy is the returning starter, but he'll compete again this spring with Daniel Vogelbach as well as new veteran acquisitions Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion. Healy, 27, started 128 games last year and hit 24 homers with 73 RBIs, but he'll need to raise his .235 batting average and .277 on-base percentage to remain part of the Mariners' rebuilding plans. Vogelbach, 26, has been a big producer at Triple-A the last three years, but has yet to translate that to the Major League level and is out of Minor League options, so decision time is looming for his future with the organization. He could be a viable designated hitter contender should the Mariners trade Encarnacion, who will be the primary DH and see some time at first base as long as he remains with the club. Bruce will back up in the corner outfield spots, but also see some time at first as the club wants to keep his bat in the lineup as well in order to maximize his trade value. -- Greg Johns

Rangers: Fourth outfielder
This one is interesting because it could come down to Hunter Pence versus Willie Calhoun. Pence may be a better fit for the Rangers because he gives them a right-handed hitter to help balance a predominantly left-handed lineup. But the Rangers have also been impressed with how hard Calhoun worked in the offseason and how he looks coming into Spring Training. Pence is also coming off a poor offensive season, so he has to show that he can still swing the bat. -- T.R. Sullivan

NATIONAL EAST

Video: Duvall on his offseason work, Braves' exciting core

Braves: Bench
The primary question is whether the Braves will choose to carry Adam Duvall as a bench player again this year. The veteran outfielder produced a second consecutive 30-homer season in 2017 and he is regarded as an above average defender. But while he has the tools to be a productive backup, he didn't make a good impression with the bat or the glove as he hit .132 with a .344 OPS over the 57 plate appearances he compiled after being traded from the Reds to the Braves before last year's Trade Deadline. If Duvall continues to create concerns during camp, the Braves might take a chance on Ryan LaMarre, a 30-year-old outfielder who showed some potential when he hit .303 and produced a .809 OPS over 71 plate appearances for the White Sox last year. -- Mark Bowman

Marlins: Shortstop
Miguel Rojas' versatility created enough playing opportunities for himself and JT Riddle at shortstop in 2018. But this Spring Training may determine if the club settles on just one. Last year, Rojas played in 153 games, but moved around to third base, second and was a late-innings defensive replacement at first. Riddle, who played in 103 games, opened the year on the injured list as he recovered from shoulder surgery. Riddle is fully healthy, and is a left-handed alternative at short. -- Joe Frisaro

Mets: First base
While the Mets could use some clarity in center field and the bullpen, their foremost competition will unfold at first base, where top prospect Peter Alonso hopes to make the roster as a rookie. Service-time considerations may come into play here, because the Mets can ensure an extra year of team control by keeping Alonso in the Minors until mid-April. But manager Mickey Callaway and GM Brodie Van Wagenen have both been outspoken in saying they plan to bring the best 25 players north with them -- including Alonso, if he proves he's among that group. If not, Todd Frazier makes the most sense to start regularly at first base, given the fact that Jed Lowrie appears to have displaced him at third. With a strong spring, Dominic Smith could also crack the roster as the left-handed half of a platoon with Frazier. Much remains unsettled at the position. -- Anthony DiComo

Phillies: Outfield
The Phillies have a few position battles this spring, but the outfield battles might be more intriguing than third base or the bullpen because of the personnel involved. Andrew McCutchen will play almost daily in left field, putting Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr in an open competition for playing time in center field and right field. Herrera has to be considered a slight favorite in the foursome because of his track record. Williams might be No. 2 for now. Everything changes if the Phillies sign Bryce Harper in the coming days or weeks. If that happens, the Phillies might try to trade Williams. -- Todd Zolecki

Video: Addition of Hellickson all about rotation depth

Nationals: Fifth starter
While Dave Martinez acknowledged Jeremy Hellickson has the "upper hand" in the battle for the Nationals final rotation spot, the team plans to hold an open tryout. That means Joe Ross, Erick Fedde and Henderson Alvarez will all have an opportunity to win the job in camp, making each of their Grapefruit League outings worth keeping an eye on. Hellickson performed well in the role last season, and with a solid spring showing he will be the Nats likely fifth starter. -- Jamal Collier

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Rotation
The Mike Moustakas signing means the Brewers' position player group is set, but there are plenty of spots up for grabs on the pitching staff. Jhoulys Chacin is the only real lock in the starting rotation, though Chase Anderson and Zach Davies have a leg up by virtue of their experience, and Jimmy Nelson will have a spot if healthy. Then it comes down to a group of promising young pitchers like Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, or veteran non-roster invitee Josh Tomlin. The Brewers used 11 different starters last year, so just because a player doesn't make the cut on Opening Day does not mean he won't contribute during the season. -- Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Right field
Dexter Fowler will get every opportunity to re-earn the starting right-field job this spring. That's Plan A for the Cardinals. However, two things could complicate that decision. One is Jose Martinez, who was the team's most consistent offensive performer last season. A strong spring from Martinez could give the Cards pause. The team may also have to reconsider its plans if Fowler does not show the sort of offensive bounce back expected on the heels of a career-worst year. -- Jenifer Langosch

Video: Maddon discusses Cubs' bullpen, starting rotation

Cubs: Bullpen
With closer Brandon Morrow (right elbow) likely to be out for all of April, the Cubs have a long list of arms in the hunt for spots in the bullpen. The only sure things appear to be Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery and Brad Brach. Behind that group, Tyler Chatwood, Brian Duensing and Brandon Kintzler enter camp with something to prove. Chicago also signed Tony Barnette and Xavier Cedeno, and has a considerable amount of rostered and non-roster candidates jockeying for position. That gives manager Joe Maddon a lot of things to consider for a competition that will likely take the entire Spring Training to shake out. -- Jordan Bastian

Pirates: Shortstop
The Pirates will spend Spring Training evaluating their internal options at shortstop before picking a starter. It could be Kevin Newman, the former first-round pick who struggled in his late-season debut last year. Or it could be Erik Gonzalez, the Indians' former super-utility man who joined the Pirates in an early offseason trade. Pittsburgh is high on the slick-fielding Gonzalez, believing he could thrive with the everyday opportunity that he couldn't secure in Cleveland. The Bucs still believe in Newman, too, and he reported to camp in good shape after dropping 15 pounds before his debut last season. Also keep an eye on shortstop prospect Cole Tucker, who could make his debut later this year if all goes well in Triple-A. -- Adam Berry

Reds: Center field
By far the most interesting position battle on the Reds will be who becomes their regular center fielder. After non-tendering Billy Hamilton, the front office looked at the trade and free-agent market but did not make an acquisition, choosing instead to look in-house. Scott Schebler and Yasiel Puig -- both natural corner outfielders -- have some experience in center field. Then there is No. 1 prospect Nick Senzel (No. 6 overall according to MLB Pipeline), an infielder who is learning center field and competing for the job simultaneously. The club has no starting spots for Senzel besides center field, so if he can earn the spot it would solve the problem of finding him a place to play. -- Mark Sheldon

NL WEST

D-backs: Closer
Archie Bradley appeared to be the de facto closer until the D-backs signed free agent Greg Holland at the end of January with the promise that he would get to compete for the role. As camp started, the race appeared to be wide open. The D-backs also have Yoshihisa Hirano slated for the back end of the 'pen, but when it comes to the closer role it's a two-man race between Bradley and Holland. -- Steve Gilbert

Video: Can Martin be an everyday catcher for the Dodgers?

Dodgers: Catcher
The departure of Yasmani Grandal has left the catching position up for grabs. Austin Barnes returns after a dreadful offensive season, and he'll need to beat out former Dodger Russell Martin, who just turned 36 and has tailed off offensively as well in recent years. The Dodgers' rumored pursuit of J.T. Realmuto is a sign that neither Barnes nor Martin has the full faith and confidence of management. Will Smith, the most advanced of a deep prospect pool, is ready defensively and figures to open the season at Triple-A -- but he could arrive any time. -- Ken Gurnick

Giants: Backup catcher
The Giants are searching for Buster Posey's new backup after allowing Nick Hundley to depart via free agency this offseason. It will be a key competition to watch this spring, as the Giants want to be cautious with Posey as he works his way back from major hip surgery. Rookie Aramis Garcia impressed after being called up in September last year, but he will be challenged by veterans Rene Rivera, Cameron Rupp and Stephen Vogt, all of whom are in camp as non-roster invitees. Vogt's ability to handle multiple positions aligns with the Giants' desire for more versatility, but he is coming off shoulder surgery and likely won't be ready to play in Cactus League games until mid-March. -- Maria Guardado

Padres: Outfield
On the current Padres roster are six outfielders who have seen time as regulars over the past three seasons. There's a chance that as many as two of those big league caliber outfielders open the season in Triple-A. The competition will be particularly fierce in the corners, where Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes and Franchy Cordero are all set to compete for playing time. Cordero could fight for starts in center field, too, but Manuel Margot and Travis Jankowski are options in center as well. -- AJ Cassavell

Rockies: Second base
Ryan McMahon brings left-handed power potential. Garrett Hampson is a right-handed hitter with above-average speed and a line-drive swing. Pat Valaika had a strong 2017 as a right-handed pinch-hitter, although he didn't accomplish much last season. Brendan Rodgers -- the Rockies' No. 1 prospect and the No. 10 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline -- has power and solid defensive tools. Unless one player is so dominant this spring that the Rockies count on him excelling immediately when the season begins, expect this to at least begin as a two-man job. One issue is this group has a total of two years and 44 days of big league experience, and Rodgers has yet to debut. If they all prove unready, the Rockies could always slide non-roster veteran Mark Reynolds into the position. -- Thomas Harding

Hand to close for new-look Indians bullpen

MLB.com @MandyBell02

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have plenty of decisions to make during Spring Training, especially when it comes to the bullpen, but what to do with Brad Hand is not one of them.

"He'll be at the end of the game," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Sunday. "That's the role we certainly envision."

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have plenty of decisions to make during Spring Training, especially when it comes to the bullpen, but what to do with Brad Hand is not one of them.

"He'll be at the end of the game," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Sunday. "That's the role we certainly envision."

As if it couldn't have been assumed, Hand will be able to settle in as the Tribe's closer after spending the second half of last season in an undefined role. The Indians acquired Hand, along with Adam Cimber, before the non-waiver Trade Deadline last July, but because Cody Allen was still with Cleveland, Hand pitched anywhere from the seventh to the ninth inning on a given day.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I mean, whatever inning it might be, the eighth or the ninth, whatever the situation dictates, I'm in on pitching," Hand said. "I know we're gonna have a lot of guys that are going to have to step up down there in pitching in big roles, but there's a lot of opportunity to kind of solidify yourself as the back-end-of-the-bullpen type of guy for these younger guys."

Eyes have been on the bullpen this offseason, focusing on the losses of arms like Allen, Andrew Miller and Josh Tomlin. But Hand believes that just because there has been quite a bit of turnover doesn't mean new names can't step in to fill the other relief roles.

"This is kind of how I got my late-inning kind of role," Hand said. "I was more of a long guy right when I got to San Diego, and then I got thrown into some high-leverage situations and did well. … So I think there will be a lot of that here where you see some guys pitching in some different situations that they've never had, and it's just going to be on them to kind of grab that role and run with it."

Video: KC@CLE: Hand strikes out the side for 32nd save

Oliver Perez is one reliever who the Indians were able to bring back, signing him to a one-year contract, with a vesting option for 2020. Perez pitched to a 1.39 ERA in 51 games for the Tribe last season after joining Cleveland on June 2. The 16-year veteran's exact role may still be undecided for the '19 season, but he will be a leader in the young bullpen.

"I mean, his numbers are stating the obvious, but he's a really stabilizing influence out in the bullpen, too," Francona said. "He's a great guy, guys look up to him, he takes the ball every day. … I mean, he gave everybody fits last year, but he can be really dominant, especially against lefties."

The bullpen may have lost a few familiar faces, but it does not lack options. The Tribe will need to decide between Cody Anderson, Cimber, Jon Edwards, Nick Goody, Tyler Olson, Dan Otero, Neil Ramirez, Jefry Rodriguez, Ben Taylor, Nick Wittgren and Alex Wilson, just to name a few.

"We're gonna have a lot of tough decisions, we know that," Francona said. "I'm thankful that we do because if you had a couple open spots and you really didn't have many decisions to make, if something goes wrong, you're in trouble. We're gonna have some really tough decisions because there's guys out there that can pitch a little bit. They may not be household names yet, but that doesn't mean they can't help us win."

Video: Francona on Oliver Perez's role, depth in outfield

Edwards a sleeper?
Although Edwards pitched in just nine Major League games in 2018, recording a 3.12 ERA, Francona believes he has the potential to make a strong impact in the Indians' bullpen.

"I think Jon Edwards, from where he's been, the way he works, the way he acts, the way he conducts himself, I'll be surprised if he doesn't do pretty well," Francona said.

Video: CWS@CLE: Edwards strikes out Engel, the side in 8th

Tito's prospect excitement
Francona's excitement continues to grow to watch prospects like Bobby Bradley, ranked No. 7 in the Tribe's system per MLB Pipeline, compete for roster spots. In previous years, the team only got to see them when they'd play a game or two to fill in for the club.

"Now you're getting to a point in their career, and I remind them of this, that, 'Hey, you're here to show us that you can help us win. You're not just here for a pat on the back and get a couple at-bats,' and I think that makes it more exciting for them," Francona said.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

Cleveland Indians, Bobby Bradley, Jon Edwards, Brad Hand, Oliver Perez

Carrasco's daughters mimic dad's pitching

On Sunday, Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco threw a bullpen session at Spring Training. It was run-of-the-mill pitcher activity, nothing special ... other than his daughters, Emma and Camila, standing by and imitating their dad on the bump, in a video captured for the masses by MLB.com's Mandy Bell. 

Projected 2019 lineups, rotations for every team

MLB.com

Spring Training is here, so now is a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup and rotation would look like if the season began today. Of course, rosters are still fluid at this point, but with help from all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might turn out.

Spring Training is here, so now is a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup and rotation would look like if the season began today. Of course, rosters are still fluid at this point, but with help from all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might turn out.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

BLUE JAYS
Lineup:
1. Devon Travis, 2B
2. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., SS
3. Justin Smoak, 1B
4. Kendrys Morales, DH
5. Randal Grichuk, RF
6. Teoscar Hernandez, LF
7. Kevin Pillar, CF
8. Brandon Drury, 3B
9. Danny Jansen, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Marcus Stroman, RHP
2. Aaron Sanchez, RHP
3. Ryan Borucki, LHP
4. Matt Shoemaker, RHP
5. Clayton Richard, LHP
Closer: Ken Giles, RHP

ORIOLES
Lineup:
1. Cedric Mullins, CF
2. Jonathan Villar, 2B
3. Trey Mancini, LF
4. Mark Trumbo, DH
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Renato Nunez, 3B
7. DJ Stewart, RF
8. Richie Martin, SS
9. Chance Sisco, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP
2. Andrew Cashner, RHP
3. Alex Cobb, RHP
4. David Hess, RHP
5. Nate Karns, RHP
Closer: Mychal Givens, RHP

RAYS
Lineup:
1. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
2. Matt Duffy, 3B
3. Tommy Pham, LF
4. Ji-Man Choi, DH
5. Willy Adames, SS
6. Yandy Diaz, 1B
7. Austin Meadows, RF
8. Mike Zunino, C
9. Joey Wendle, 2B

Rotation and closer:
1. Blake Snell, LHP
2. Charlie Morton, RHP
3. Opener
4. Tyler Glasnow, RHP
5. Opener
Closer: Jose Alvarado, LHP

RED SOX
Lineup:
1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
2. Mookie Betts, RF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Mitch Moreland, 1B
6. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
7. Rafael Devers, 3B
8. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
9. Christian Vazquez, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Chris Sale, LHP
2. David Price, LHP
3. Rick Porcello, RHP
4. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
5. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
Closer: Matt Barnes, RHP 

YANKEES
Lineup:
1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Aaron Hicks, CF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Gary Sanchez, C
6. Miguel Andujar, 3B
7. Gleyber Torres, 2B
8. Luke Voit, 1B
9. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Luis Severino, RHP
2. James Paxton, LHP
3. Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
4. J.A. Happ, LHP
5. CC Sabathia, LHP
Closer: Aroldis Chapman, LHP

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

INDIANS
Lineup:
1. Leonys Martin, CF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Jose Ramirez, 3B
4. Carlos Santana, DH
5. Jake Bauers, 1B
6. Tyler Naquin, RF
7. Jordan Luplow, LF
8. Roberto Perez, C
9. Yu Chang, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Corey Kluber, RHP
2. Trevor Bauer, RHP
3. Carlos Carrasco, RHP
4. Mike Clevinger, RHP
5. Shane Bieber, RHP
Closer: Brad Hand, LHP

ROYALS
Lineup:
1. Whit Merrifield, 2B
2. Adalberto Mondesi, SS
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Jorge Soler, DH
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Ryan O'Hearn,1B
7. Hunter Dozier, 3B
8. Brett Phillips, RF
9. Billy Hamilton, CF

Rotation and closer:
1. Danny Duffy, LHP
2. Brad Keller, RHP
3. Jakob Junis, RHP
4. Ian Kennedy, RHP
5. Jorge Lopez, RHP
Closer: Brad Boxberger, RHP

TIGERS
Lineup:
1. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
2. Christin Stewart, LF
3. Nicholas Castellanos, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Niko Goodrum, 2B
6. John Hicks, DH
7. Grayson Greiner, C
8. JaCoby Jones, CF
9. Jordy Mercer, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Matthew Boyd, LHP
2. Michael Fulmer, RHP
3. Jordan Zimmermann, RHP
4. Matt Moore, LHP
5. Tyson Ross, RHP
Closer: Shane Greene, RHP

TWINS
Lineup:
1. Jorge Polanco, SS
2. Eddie Rosario, LF
3. Miguel Sano, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, DH
5. C.J. Cron, 1B
6. Max Kepler, RF
7. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
8. Jason Castro, C
9. Byron Buxton, CF

Rotation and closer:
1. Jose Berrios, RHP
2. Kyle Gibson, RHP
3. Michael Pineda, RHP
4. Jake Odorizzi, RHP
5. Martin Perez, LHP
Closer: Trevor May, RHP

WHITE SOX
Lineup:
1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Yoan Moncada, 2B
3. Jose Abreu, 1B
4. Yonder Alonso, DH
5. Welington Castillo, C
6. Daniel Palka, LF
7. Tim Anderson, SS
8. Yolmer Sanchez, 3B
9. Adam Engel, CF

Rotation and closer:
1. Carlos Rodon, LHP
2. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
3. Ivan Nova, RHP
4. Lucas Giolito, RHP
5. Manny Banuelos, LHP
Closer: Alex Colome, RHP

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

ANGELS
Lineup:
1. Zack Cozart, 3B
2. Mike Trout, CF
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Justin Bour, 1B
5. Albert Pujols, DH
6. Andrelton Simmons, SS
7. Kole Calhoun, RF
8. David Fletcher, 2B
9. Jonathan Lucroy, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Tyler Skaggs, LHP
2. Andrew Heaney, LHP
3. Matt Harvey, RHP
4. Trevor Cahill, RHP
5. Jaime Barria, RHP
Closer: Cody Allen, RHP

ASTROS
Lineup:
1. George Springer, CF
2. Alex Bregman, 3B
3. Jose Altuve, 2B
4. Carlos Correa, SS
5. Michael Brantley, LF
6. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
7. Josh Reddick, RF
8. Tyler White, DH
9. Robinson Chirinos, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Justin Verlander, RHP
2. Gerrit Cole, RHP
3. Wade Miley, LHP
4. Collin McHugh, RHP
5. Josh James, RHP
Closer: Roberto Osuna, RHP

ATHLETICS
Lineup:
1. Nick Martini, LF
2. Matt Chapman, 3B
3. Matt Olson, 1B
4. Khris Davis, DH
5. Stephen Piscotty, RF
6. Jurickson Profar, 2B
7. Ramon Laureano, CF
8. Marcus Semien, SS
9. Chris Herrmann, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Mike Fiers, RHP
2. Marco Estrada, RHP
3. Brett Anderson, LHP
4. Daniel Mengden, RHP
5. Paul Blackburn, RHP
Closer: Blake Treinen, RHP

MARINERS
Lineup:
1. Mallex Smith, CF
2. Mitch Haniger, RF
3. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
4. Kyle Seager, 3B
5. Domingo Santana, LF
6. Ryon Healy, 1B
7. Omar Narvaez, C
8. Tim Beckham, SS
9. Dee Gordon, 2B

Rotation and closer:
1. Marco Gonzales, LHP
2. Yusei Kikuchi, LHP
3. Mike Leake, RHP
4. Wade LeBlanc, LHP
5. Felix Hernandez, RHP
Closer: Hunter Strickland, RHP

RANGERS
Lineup:
1. Delino DeShields, CF
2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, DH
4. Nomar Mazara, RF
5. Asdrubal Cabrera, 3B
6. Joey Gallo, LF
7. Rougned Odor, 2B
8. Ronald Guzman, 1B
9. Jeff Mathis, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Mike Minor, LHP 
2. Lance Lynn, RHP
3. Drew Smyly, LHP
4. Edinson Volquez, RHP
5. Shelby Miller, RHP
Closer: Jose Leclerc, RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

BRAVES
Lineup:
1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Josh Donaldson, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Ronald Acuna Jr., LF
5. Nick Markakis, RF
6. Tyler Flowers, C
7. Ozzie Albies, 2B
8. Dansby Swanson, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP
2. Sean Newcomb, LHP
3. Kevin Gausman, RHP
4. Julio Teheran, RHP
5. Touki Toussaint, RHP
Closer: Arodys Vizcaino, RHP

MARLINS
Lineup:
1. Lewis Brinson, CF
2. Curtis Granderson, LF
3. Starlin Castro, 2B
4. Brian Anderson, 3B
5. Peter O'Brien, RF
6. Neil Walker, 1B
7. Jorge Alfaro, C
8. JT Riddle, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Jose Urena, RHP
2. Dan Straily, RHP
3. Wei-Yin Chen, LHP
4. Sandy Alcantara, RHP
5. Trevor Richards, RHP
Closer: Drew Steckenrider, RHP

METS
Lineup:
1. Brandon Nimmo, RF
2. Jed Lowrie, 3B
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Wilson Ramos, C
5. Michael Conforto, LF
6. Todd Frazier, 1B
7. Juan Lagares, CF
8. Amed Rosario, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Jacob deGrom, RHP
2. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
3. Zack Wheeler, RHP
4. Steven Matz, LHP
5. Jason Vargas, LHP
Closer: Edwin Diaz, RHP

NATIONALS
Lineup:
1. Adam Eaton, RF
2. Trea Turner, SS
3. Anthony Rendon, 3B
4. Juan Soto, LF
5. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
6. Brian Dozier, 2B
7. Victor Robles, CF
8. Yan Gomes, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Max Scherzer, RHP
2. Stephen Strasburg, RHP
3. Patrick Corbin, LHP
4. Anibal Sanchez, RHP
5. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP
Closer: Sean Doolittle, LHP

PHILLIES
Lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Jean Segura, SS
3. J.T. Realmuto, C
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Andrew McCutchen, LF
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Nick Williams, RF

Rotation and closer:
1. Aaron Nola, RHP
2. Jake Arrieta, RHP
3. Nick Pivetta, RHP
4. Zach Eflin, RHP
5. Vince Velasquez, RHP
Closer: David Robertson, RHP, or Seranthony Dominguez, RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

BREWERS
Lineup:
1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Travis Shaw, 3B
5. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
6. Yasmani Grandal, C
7. Cory Spangenberg, 2B
8. Orlando Arcia, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Jhoulys Chacin, RHP
2. Chase Anderson, RHP
3. Zach Davies, RHP
4. Jimmy Nelson, RHP
5. Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Closer: Corey Knebel, RHP

CARDINALS
Lineup:
1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
3. Paul DeJong, SS
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Dexter Fowler, RF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Kolten Wong, 2B
8. Harrison Bader, CF

Rotation and closer:
1. Miles Mikolas, RHP
2. Carlos Martinez, RHP
3. Jack Flaherty, RHP
4. Michael Wacha, RHP
5. Adam Wainwright, RHP
Closer: Andrew Miller, LHP

CUBS
Lineup:
1. Ben Zobrist, 2B
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Javier Baez, SS
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
6. Willson Contreras, C
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. Albert Almora Jr., CF

Rotation and closer:
1. Jon Lester, LHP
2. Kyle Hendricks, RHP
3. Cole Hamels, LHP
4. Yu Darvish, RHP
5. Jose Quintana, LHP
Closer: Pedro Strop, RHP

PIRATES
Lineup:
1. Adam Frazier, 2B
2. Starling Marte, CF
3. Corey Dickerson, LF
4. Josh Bell, 1B
5. Francisco Cervelli, C
6. Colin Moran, 3B
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, RF
8. Erik Gonzalez, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Jameson Taillon, RHP
2. Chris Archer, RHP
3. Trevor Williams, RHP
4. Joe Musgrove, RHP
5. Jordan Lyles, RHP
Closer: Felipe Vazquez, LHP

REDS
Lineup:
1. Jesse Winker, LF
2. Jose Peraza, SS
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
5. Scooter Gennett, 2B
6. Yasiel Puig, RF
7. Scott Schebler, CF
8. Tucker Barnhart, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Sonny Gray, RHP
2. Tanner Roark, RHP
3. Alex Wood, LHP
4. Luis Castillo, RHP
5. Anthony DeSclafani, RHP
Closer: Raisel Iglesias, RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-BACKS
Lineup:
1. Ketel Marte, CF
2. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
3. David Peralta, LF
4. Steven Souza Jr., RF
5. Jake Lamb, 1B
6. Wilmer Flores, 2B
7. Nick Ahmed, SS
8. Alex Avila, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Zack Greinke, RHP
2. Robbie Ray, LHP
3. Zack Godley, RHP
4. Luke Weaver, RHP
5. Merrill Kelly, RHP
Closer: Archie Bradley, RHP

DODGERS
Lineup:
1. A.J. Pollock, CF
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Cody Bellinger, RF
5. Max Muncy, 1B
6. Chris Taylor, 2B
7. Joc Pederson, LF
8. Austin Barnes, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Clayton Kershaw, LHP
2. Walker Buehler, RHP
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
4. Rich Hill, LHP
5. Kenta Maeda, RHP
Closer: Kenley Jansen, RHP

GIANTS
Lineup:
1. Steven Duggar, CF
2. Joe Panik, 2B
3. Buster Posey, C
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Evan Longoria, 3B
6. Brandon Crawford, SS
7. Gerardo Parra, LF
8. Mac Williamson, RF

Rotation and closer:
1. Madison Bumgarner, LHP
2. Derek Holland, LHP
3. Dereck Rodriguez, RHP
4. Drew Pomeranz, LHP
5. Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Closer: Will Smith, LHP

PADRES
Lineup:
1. Manuel Margot, CF
2. Luis Urias, SS
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Franmil Reyes, RF
5. Wil Myers, LF
6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. Austin Hedges, C
8. Ty France, 3B

Rotation and closer:
1. Joey Lucchesi, LHP
2. Eric Lauer, LHP
3. Robbie Erlin, LHP
4. Bryan Mitchell, RHP
5. Matt Strahm, LHP
Closer: Kirby Yates, RHP

ROCKIES
Lineup:
1. Charlie Blackmon, LF
2. David Dahl, RF
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. Trevor Story, SS
5. Daniel Murphy, 1B
6. Ian Desmond, CF
7. Ryan McMahon, 2B
8. Chris Iannetta, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Kyle Freeland, LHP
2. German Marquez, RHP
3. Tyler Anderson, LHP
4. Jon Gray, RHP
5. Chad Bettis, RHP
Closer: Wade Davis, RHP

Perez arrives confident, has backing from Tito

Catcher, now in spotlight, worked on hitting over winter
MLB.com @MandyBell02

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Roberto Perez's past offensive numbers have been put under the microscope since the Indians traded catcher Yan Gomes to the Nationals, but manager Terry Francona was clear that there's more to naming a starting catcher than his production at the plate.

"The biggest thing is [defense] and running the game," Francona said. "By that, you know, calling, putting the right fingers down, preparing, getting your pitcher through not just the easy parts, but the difficult parts. [Perez is] extremely prepared for that.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Roberto Perez's past offensive numbers have been put under the microscope since the Indians traded catcher Yan Gomes to the Nationals, but manager Terry Francona was clear that there's more to naming a starting catcher than his production at the plate.

"The biggest thing is [defense] and running the game," Francona said. "By that, you know, calling, putting the right fingers down, preparing, getting your pitcher through not just the easy parts, but the difficult parts. [Perez is] extremely prepared for that.

Indians mulling whether to play Santana in OF

"I think we all feel like with more regular at-bats, he's gonna hit better. If he doesn't hit like Gomes, we still believe in the way he runs the game that he's kind of a standout in that area. That's first and foremost as a catcher."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

In 2018, Perez hit .168 with nine doubles, two home runs and 19 RBIs in 62 games. In his five seasons with the Indians, Perez, 30, has hit below the Mendoza Line twice, but has never been a starter who received consistent playing time. When fans look at the statistics on paper, it's easy to overlook how the importance of being able to manage a pitching staff outweighs offensive production, according to Francona.

"If I was a casual fan, I wouldn't either," Francona said. "When I go to a basketball game, I'm looking to see how many points somebody scores. That's just part of the fun. But we realize, not only do we realize, but we pound it home with our catchers. You see them even when they're catching their sides after they're done, they communicate with [the pitchers], they talk to them. Whether it's the youngest kid in the camp or the veteran, that's part of being a good catcher."

Video: CLE@TOR: Perez lines a solo home run to left

Although hitting may not be the absolute top priority when it comes to earning the starting catching job as he competes against Kevin Plawecki for the position, Perez knows how important it still is. After experiencing a disappointing offensive season last year, the backstop took it upon himself to get extra work by competing in the Dominican Republic for Tigres del Licey over the winter.

"It helped me a lot, playing in the Dominican and playing in a very good league," Perez said. "… My mindset was to come to the ballpark each day, and even if you go 0-for-4 you know the next day you're in [the lineup]. I mean, it gives you a lot of confidence. I'm already a confident guy, so to play every day is going to give me more confidence to come out and perform."

That confidence and consistency led to Perez slashing .333/.418/.435 with four doubles, one homer and 10 RBIs in 24 contests for Tigres del Licey. Playing in the Dominican League slightly changed Perez's offseason routine, but the catcher was sure to finish in time to physically prepare himself for the 2019 season.

"I went down there to get my at-bats," Perez said. "Not to catch, because I know what I'm capable of doing behind the plate, but to be able to go down and get consistent at-bats, and they have great pitching there. So, challenge myself and prove to me and everyone else what kind of player I am. I did really well, felt really well and hopefully that carries into the season."

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

Cleveland Indians, Roberto Perez

Indians mulling whether to play Santana in OF

Francona wants to keep his glove on field; plus notes on Anderson, Mercado
MLB.com @MandyBell02

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There's been plenty of names thrown around when attempting to predict the Indians' starting outfield, including Tyler Naquin, Jordan Luplow, Greg Allen and Jake Bauers, but could the Tribe turn to Carlos Santana?

"That's something I want to sit down and talk to him about," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Between Bauers and Santana, we need to figure out what ends up being best for our team. And to do that, I think we need to communicate with both those guys and watch them play for a little while."

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There's been plenty of names thrown around when attempting to predict the Indians' starting outfield, including Tyler Naquin, Jordan Luplow, Greg Allen and Jake Bauers, but could the Tribe turn to Carlos Santana?

"That's something I want to sit down and talk to him about," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Between Bauers and Santana, we need to figure out what ends up being best for our team. And to do that, I think we need to communicate with both those guys and watch them play for a little while."

Perez arrives confident, has backing from Tito

If Bauers becomes the Tribe's everyday first baseman, an obvious option the team has is moving Santana into the DH role, but the Indians may try to find another way to keep his glove on the field.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Knowing Carlos, he's never been the biggest fan of DH-ing," Francona said. "Some of that may have to come with how we're configured. I was proud of him for being willing to do it, I just thought physically it wasn't that hard for him. He's a better athlete than people give him credit for."

Santana, 32, has played in 10 games in the outfield in his career (seven in right and three in left), spending most of his time as a catcher, first baseman and third baseman. Two of those 10 contests came in the 2016 World Series, where he made appearances in left field in Games 3 and 5 against the Cubs. Although he's not as experienced in the grass, both Santana and Francona believe he has the athleticism to be able to play there.

Video: Carlos Santana jokes about his ability to work a walk

"Everybody knows that my natural position is catching and playing third base and first base," Santana said. "I don't like to worry about that. I worry about if I'm going to be in the lineup every day. If Tito needs me to be in the outfield, then I'll do it 100 percent."

Now that the Tribe's position players have officially reported to Spring Training, Francona will have his one-on-one meeting with Santana in the next few days to start that conversation.

"We'll see what happens," Santana said. "DH, first base, outfield, whatever. I'll be fine. But everybody knows I'm pretty good at first base, so we'll see. I haven't talked to [Indians president of baseball operations] Chris [Antonetti] and [general manager] Mike [Chernoff] and Tito yet, but we'll see the plan where they are for me this year."

Anderson unrestricted to start camp
After missing the last two seasons due to Tommy John surgery, Cody Anderson is back in baseball. Francona said the 28-year-old right-hander is cleared to participate in full baseball activities at Spring Training, but the team will make sure to give him some extra rest if needed to ensure he doesn't rush back too quickly.

"He's free to go compete, but like I said, with the caveat [of keeping an eye on him]," Francona said. "We do it with everybody, but a guy coming back from Tommy John, you need to, especially with Cody's attitude where he pushes so hard. They all look at Opening Day and I understand it, but we can't let that get in the way of guys getting hurt."

Prospect to get opportunity in spring
The Indians will get a chance to evaluate outfielder Oscar Mercado, who was acquired at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline from the Cardinals and spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Columbus. 

The club's No. 16 prospect per MLB Pipeline began his professional career as a shortstop and made the transition to center field in 2017. Mercado, 24, has a plus arm, speed and defense, and his offensive numbers improved greatly after he made the move to the outfield.

"I actually called [former Cardinals manager Mike] Matheny last year," Francona said. "… He just raved about this kid, like he wanted to adopt him. But it was kind of fun to hear that. You always like hearing that stuff."

Video: Indians prospect Mercado attending prestigious RCDP

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

Cleveland Indians, Carlos Santana