Lindor (calf) continues to progress during camp

Ramirez hits first spring homer; Clippard throws BP session

March 1st, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. --  had a scheduled day off from activities Thursday, but the Indians shortstop will be back at it Friday as he continues to rehab a strained right calf muscle.

“He’s doing really good,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s got a down day [Thursday], but there’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to fly through this.”

Francona said Lindor would do “about 10 things” on Friday. There remains no exact timetable for Lindor to return to game action, but it appears that it could be far closer to the shorter end of the club’s initial 7-9 week estimation.

“They keep adding on every day, it seems,” Francona said. “We put out there early on that approximation; Frankie is going to be ready when he’s ready. To put a timetable on him is not fair to him. Believe me, we’re not going to hold him back, but we want to make sure that he’s healthy, too.”

Big shot

Jose Ramirez blasted a three-run home run Thursday, part of a four-RBI day in the Indians' 10-7 loss to the D-backs at Salt River Fields.

Ramirez went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, as he played for the second straight day. Francona plans to play Ramirez again Friday night against the Dodgers.

Ramirez got off to a slow start last season, recording his first hit of the year in his fifth game, part of a 1-for-23 skid to open 2018. Francona is trying to get his third baseman into a groove earlier this spring.

“He’ll get a couple more tomorrow night, just to let him get a little rhythm going early,” Francona said. “It took him a little while to find it last year. ... He’s going to hit, but we’re just trying to get him a little timing a little earlier this year.”

Clip job

Tyler Clippard was slated to throw his first batting-practice session of the spring Thursday, and given the massive changes to the Indians’ bullpen in recent months, the 34-year-old right-hander could make an impact with Cleveland this season.

Francona, who has watched Clippard pitch in the back end of bullpens with a number of different teams during the pitcher’s 12-year career, likes the fact that he can be effective against both left-handed batters (.192/.270/.327 slash line against in his career) and righties (.205/.295/.381).

“When he goes out there, you don’t have two guys throwing trying to match up,” Francona said. “He has the ability to throw a full Major League inning. He’s held his stuff, so we’re actually kind of excited that we had a chance to bring him in here.”

What type of role might Clippard -- who is in camp on a Minor League contract that would pay him $1.75 million plus incentives if he makes the team -- fill for the Indians? That’s unclear, Francona said, because aside from closer Brad Hand, the entire bullpen structure will need to shake out as the season progresses.

“I’ll talk to the guys at the end of camp,” Francona said. “The first couple weeks of the season will be guys working into roles.”

Young gun

Francona was impressed by Shane Bieber’s spring debut Wednesday against the Brewers, as the 23-year-old retired all six batters he faced.

“Really got to his velocity, really looked effortless,” Francona said. “He threw a couple good changeups. It was nice.”

Bieber went 11-5 with a 4.55 ERA in his rookie season in 2018, but as Francona noted, this marks the first time the young pitcher has been in Major League camp for Spring Training. Francona’s message to Bieber this spring?

“Prepare for a long season,” Francona said. “It’s kind of hard to throw him off-stride -- not that you want to. This kid is everything you’re looking for.”

Up next

The Indians host the Dodgers on Friday night at 8:05 p.m ET at Goodyear Ballpark, as right-hander A.J. Cole gets the start for Cleveland against Los Angeles righty Ross Stripling. Hand and righty Dan Otero are also among those slated to pitch for the Tribe.