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Guyer to make Indians' Opening Day roster

Outfielder fills final 25-man spot; Salazar (shoulder) begins throwing bullpen sessions; Brantley, Encarnacion progressing
March 26, 2018

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are confident that Brandon Guyer has recovered enough from his left wrist injury to reprise his role as a complementary outfielder for the ballclub. Cleveland came to that conclusion on Monday, putting the final touch on the projected Opening Day roster."He's so close," manager Terry

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are confident that Brandon Guyer has recovered enough from his left wrist injury to reprise his role as a complementary outfielder for the ballclub. Cleveland came to that conclusion on Monday, putting the final touch on the projected Opening Day roster.
"He's so close," manager Terry Francona said. "Even if he's a couple of days behind, [we can maneuver around it]."
For Monday night's 7-0 loss to the D-backs, Guyer was in the lineup as the left fielder and batting seventh, marking his second Cactus League appearance of the spring (he went 0-for-3). The wrist issue -- one that necessitated surgery to repair the extensor tendon in October -- limited Guyer throughout Spring Training, but he has shown improvement in recent days and has passed several tests from the training staff.
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The good news for Guyer led to a tough conversation with outfielder Rob Refsnyder. Francona said the Indians did not want to keep Refsnyder waiting on the decision about the last vacancy on the Opening Day roster. Refsnyder (out of Minor League options) will be designated for assignment, giving Cleveland 10 days to trade or release him, or reassign him to the Minors if he clears waivers.
"[We made the decision now] out of respect to Refsnyder," Francona said. "If we kept Ref for three days, it would be awful hard for him to get a legitimate chance to land a Major League job. That's part of the reason I respect and love [our front office] so much -- the way they look out for players or at least try to. I like that a lot."
Guyer will serve as a right-handed complement -- along with Rajai Davis -- for the outfield, which will have lefty hitters in left (Tyler Naquin), center (Bradley Zimmer) and right (Lonnie Chisenhall) to start the year. In 2016, when Guyer came to Cleveland via a trade with Tampa Bay, he hit .328 with a .952 OPS against left-handed pitching. In 2017, Guyer hit .236 (.654 OPS) in 70 games while hampered by the wrist problem.
Salazar on the mend
Right-hander Danny Salazar is going to open this season on the disabled list due to the inflammation that flared in his throwing shoulder over the offseason, but the pitcher said he is in a good spot mentally. Salazar said he has been more upfront and honest with the Indians' medical and training staff throughout his spring comeback.
"Definitely," Salazar said on Monday. "Earlier this spring, I was playing catch and I was feeling good and they wanted me to hop on the mound. But, I wasn't feeling like it was time for me to get there yet. In the past, I would've just said, 'OK,' and maybe keep throwing like that, even if I was feeling a little something. I would try to agree with them, even if I wasn't 100 percent sure.
"But right now, it's my arm, it's my career. I need to be healthy to do the things I need to do to help this team win."

Salazar has completed two bullpen sessions recently and will throw off a mound again Wednesday. He said the plan will be to log 30-35 fastballs and changeups. Salazar said he has been throwing all his pitches in flat-ground workouts and will reintroduce breaking pitches into his mound sessions soon.
"I'm in a better place right now," Salazar said. "It doesn't hurt, but you have that [thought] in your head that you can't do what you want to do. You want to feel really loose. And even though you know you can do it, when you go to release the ball, that comes back into your head. But I'm getting better now. I'm really happy right now."
Injury updates
• Left fielder Michael Brantley, who is going to open the season on the DL, is not expected to appear in the games against the D-backs on Monday or Tuesday. By holding Brantley out of those games, Cleveland can make the DL stint retroactive to Sunday, meaning the outfielder would be eligible for activation on April 6 (the Indians' home opener).
• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was scratched from Monday night's lineup against the D-backs with general soreness. Said Francona: "He just slept wrong, is all. There's just no reason to mess with that now. He got more at-bats this spring than he did last year. I think he feels fine."
Worth noting
• Francona emphasized on Monday that the decision to send Mike Napoli to Triple-A Columbus was made by the veteran first baseman alone, following discussions with the team. The manager is thrilled that Napoli will remain in the organization for the start of the season.
"He made that decision on his own," Francona said. "Whatever he did, I just wanted him to enjoy what he's doing. He's accomplished so much, if he goes down to Triple-A for a while, I think he's going to enjoy himself. I think he's in a great frame of mind. I think he'll be good for the guys that are there. And see where it leads with him."
Up next
Right-hander Trevor Bauer is scheduled to start for the Indians in a 3:40 p.m. ET clash with the D-backs on Tuesday, when Cleveland wraps up its preseason at Chase Field. Bauer will then be in line to start the third game of the regular season on Sunday in Seattle. Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Tyler Olson are also tentatively slated to pitch against Arizona in the spring finale.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.