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Hanley likely to make Indians for Opening Day

Francona: 'If we stay put, I mean, Hanley’s on the team'
@MandyBell02
March 24, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It all comes down to Hanley Ramirez. The Indians have finalized 24 pieces of their 25-man roster. On Sunday, Indians manager Terry Francona said that the only decision left to make is whether Ramirez will make the team. As of now, the 35-year-old will be on the

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It all comes down to Hanley Ramirez.

The Indians have finalized 24 pieces of their 25-man roster. On Sunday, Indians manager Terry Francona said that the only decision left to make is whether Ramirez will make the team. As of now, the 35-year-old will be on the Tribe’s Opening Day roster as long as the team doesn’t make any more additions.

“If we stay put, I mean, Hanley’s on the team,” Francona said. “If there’s another move on the outside made, it could affect Hanley and we told him that.”

Ramirez will DH in Cleveland’s final game in Arizona before the team heads to Texas. The 14-year-veteran slashed .278/.316/.528 through his first 12 spring games (36 at-bats) with three doubles, two homers and eight RBIs.

Assuming no other acquisitions occur, the Indians starting outfield will likely be Jake Bauers in left, Leonys Martin in center and Tyler Naquin in right. Francona said he isn’t sure how Greg Allen and Jordan Luplow will mix in just yet.

“I don’t want Naquin and Bauers to just be strictly platoon guys because I don’t think it’s healthy for them,” Francona said. “…We’ll see. We don’t want anybody ever just sitting, but [Allen] has the ability to pinch-run, to do things like that.”

After bringing in Brad Miller on Sunday morning, the infield will consist of Carlos Santana at first, Jose Ramirez at third and a mix of Eric Stamets, Max Moroff and Miller at short and second until Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis -- both working through calf strains -- return to the lineup. After Jose Ramirez was carted off the field in Sunday's 7-3 loss to the White Sox upon fouling a ball off the inside of his left knee, the Indians are hoping a few days of treatment will allow him to start at third on Thursday.

“Between Moroff, [Miller] and Stamets, we have three middle infielders and guys that can move around, but we may mix and match a little bit,” Francona said. “Some of that probably depends on how guys are swinging.”

The rotation was officially announced on Saturday, although it was the one part of the roster that could be predicted. Corey Kluber will start Opening Day, and the rest of the order will be Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber. They will work with Roberto Perez and Kevin Plawecki behind the plate.

The bullpen was finalized on Sunday when the Tribe optioned Nick Wittgren to Triple-A. Brad Hand, Oliver Perez, Adam Cimber, Dan Otero, Tyler Olson, Neil Ramirez and Jon Edwards will make up the Indians ‘pen on Opening Day.

“We knew some of those conversations at the end, they get tough,” Francona said of his meeting with Wittgren. “And we were talking about it this morning in our meeting. The way our guys handled themselves was probably beyond what you could really expect. … And the way they handled themselves, the way they carried themselves, we really appreciate it and have no doubt that they will play a big part of what we do.”

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