Cleveland shortstop Andrés Giménez was the centerpiece of the trade that shipped Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets for a reason. The Indians think the ceiling is high for the 22-year-old infielder, and now he may finally be settling in.
Through 27 games, Giménez has already made five errors in the field and hit just .171 with a .522 OPS. In his last few contests, however, he’s looked much more sound on defense, which the team is hoping is a sign that he’s starting to feel more comfortable.
“I feel good there. I always feel the same way,” Giménez said through team interpreter Agustin Rivero. “The only difference now is that the results are coming along defensively. But I always feel great playing shortstop.”
“He got off to a tough start and he's trying to do too much, maybe even defensively, too,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He got out there in the Kansas City game late and came in for defense and slipped. It looked like he was trying to go a little too fast. Hopefully it'll start to slow down a little bit.”
Giménez made quite the first impression on his new team this spring with a red-hot bat in Cactus League play. But after he got off to a slow start to the regular season, Cleveland has rotated between Giménez and Amed Rosario at shortstop. Over the last few days, Giménez has been trying to make minor changes to slow the game down, which could eventually be the key to him becoming the everyday shortstop.
“The important part is I have to focus on what I can control,” Giménez said. “I just have to focus on playing hard and doing my best that I can do in the field. That way the game will slow down. The most important thing is that the team is winning. For me, that's the real important part, is that we're able to win games.”
“We were just laughing about that in the coaches’ room,” Francona said. “It sure seems like, ‘Here come the Indians. Let’s bring up our young phenom.’”
It worked out in Cleveland’s favor the first time, as it came out with an 8-6 victory against Lynch and Kansas City. But who truly has the advantage when a team hasn’t seen a new starting pitcher?
“I think it depends on how a guy's throwing,” Francona said. “I always think a pitcher has the advantage until you've faced him. That doesn't have to be somebody's first start. I just think until you get in the box and see a guy live, they have an advantage.”
Addressing COVID-19 protocol changes
Cleveland hit the 85 percent vaccination threshold on Wednesday that Major League Baseball encouraged teams to strive for in order to ease some COVID-19 restrictions. That meant that for the first time this year, the team didn’t have to wear masks in the dugout. Although the Yankees have been battling through some positive COVID-19 tests -- despite some of those cases occurring to players who were fully vaccinated -- Francona was not concerned with the changes in protocols and noted that there are still plenty intact.
“They've relaxed some things that guys are allowed to do and we can do in the dugout,” Francona said. “But there's still protocols when you're in the clubhouse or at the hotel. There's things you still have to follow. But it felt good to be in the dugout and not have a mask on. Felt kind of naked. Felt like you had your zipper down because it was so different.”