Indians not rushing eager top prospect Lindor
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Francisco Lindor understands the development process, but that has not hindered the shortstop's desire. Asked on Thursday when he hoped to reach the big leagues, the Indians' top prospect did not hesitate with his answer.
"As soon as possible," Lindor said.
Told of Lindor's comment, Tribe manager Terry Francona smiled.
"I'm glad," Francona replied.
None of this means that Cleveland plans on pushing the 20-year-old Lindor up the organizational chain before he is deemed ready. Lindor -- selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft -- advanced to Double-A Akron last year, but spent just 21 games at that level before a back injury forced him to shut things down in August.
Lindor will likely open this season back at Double-A, but a call to the manager's office with news of a promotion to Triple-A might not be far away. Francona is convinced that Lindor could pull his weight in the Majors right now when it comes to defense. There are other facets of his game that need polishing.
"His playing will dictate when he gets to the big leagues," Francona said. "Everybody wants to be in the big leagues yesterday -- that's a given -- but there is a progression, and there's things you have to go through and adjustments you make along the way.
"Whether he could handle it defensively right now, I have no doubt he could. ... But you also want to get them here when they can show they're capable of doing what they do offensively. If you get them there too quick, that's not developing. That's getting them beat up."
Lindor, who is in big league camp for the first time this spring, posted a .303/.380/.407 slash line in 104 games between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron last season. Along the way, he compiled two home runs, 22 doubles, seven triples, 34 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and 65 runs, ending the year with more walks (49) than strikeouts (46).
As for the back injury, Lindor said rest was all he required.
"It was nothing bad," Lindor said. "Eventually, I ended up calling it a season, but thank God it was later on, in the last two weeks of my season. Right now, I'm feeling good. I knew I was going to be fine."
During the first week of full-squad workouts, Lindor has been spending time with Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, and staying close to Cleveland's other infielders, including second baseman Jason Kipnis. Lindor said he is trying to use Spring Training to absorb as much as he can before heading back to Minor League camp.
"I'm trying to pick their brains," he said. "I'm trying to learn from everything they know. They're in the big leagues for a reason. They obviously went through what I went through and they've accomplished everything. They're in the big leagues and they're both All-Stars, so I definitely can learn when they talk."