Notes: Spring game broadcasts; Plutko's role

February 27th, 2021

Fans who aren't in Arizona can tune in for five of the Tribe’s Spring Training games televised on SportsTime Ohio, while 15 games will be aired on the Indians Radio Network.

Nine of those radio broadcasts will air on WTAM 1100 AM, two on WMMS 100.7 FM and four on REAL 106.1. Exclusive audio webcasts will also be available on for select dates.

Fans can begin listening Sunday, as WTAM is slated to air the Tribe’s spring opener against the Reds at 3:05 p.m. ET. For those looking to attend any of the Indians’ home games this spring, Goodyear Ballpark will permit 21 percent capacity. To maintain social distance, tickets in the seating bowl will be available in pod-style seating (up to six tickets) only.

Indians manager Terry Francona said on Friday that the club’s plans haven’t changed for the weekend. Aaron Civale, Logan Allen, Kyle Nelson and Anthony Gose will pitch in the team’s three-inning intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, and Cal Quantrill, Triston McKenzie, James Karinchak, Bryan Shaw and Heath Hembree are expected to pitch in the opener on Sunday.

The Tribe is waiting to hear back from the Reds about the length of Sunday’s game. Both teams have agreed to lengthen the scheduled seven-inning game to eight frames, but the Indians offered to pitch the ninth if Cincinnati wants to bat one more time (despite the score). Cleveland hasn’t yet posted its lineup for the matchup.

“We’re trying to get maybe some of the veteran guys another day of workouts under their belt before we play games,” Francona said. “And then also maybe split it up with the outfielders and the infielders -- just trying to be respectful that we are having fans. I don’t know how many there are, but being respectful of having a representative team every day. I think we need to be aware of that.”

Plutko’s role

 has gotten used to entering camp unsure of what his role will be for the upcoming season. Over the past few years, he’s been the perfect sixth starter for the club anytime it needs another arm. He’s also been a decent option for the team out of the bullpen -- in long or short appearances. Instead of worrying about what role he will fill, Plutko has already said he’s ready to take on anything in 2021.

“The first thing we told him was, ‘The elephant in the room is that you’re out of options,’” Francona said of his one-on-one meeting with Plutko. “Let’s just admit that and be open about it.”

Francona said the plan is to stretch Plutko out at the start of Spring Training. When the team reaches the weeks when the primary starters need to get the majority of the exhibition innings, Francona said the club will make a decision as to where Plutko best fits. At that time, he’ll either continue to stretch his arm out, or prepare to make the transition to the bullpen.

“The good news from where we sit, he really looks good throwing the ball,” Francona said. “The ball is coming out of his hand good. You can tell he’s spent a lot of time working on his breaking ball. I think he feels he has maybe a few more weapons at his disposal, and it’s like a lot of guys, you know pitchers and players, as they mature into their body and understanding their role and understanding their self. As long as their work ethic doesn’t wane, then you see guys getting better and that’s where Adam falls.”

Tito health update:

Francona, who underwent surgery in January for a staph infection, had an appointment with his doctor on Wednesday and was cleared to begin walking with just one crutch. He was also told that he may be able to advance to using a cane in four or five days.

“I [also] got the ability to take a shower without the boot on,” Francona said, “which I know is not breaking news for the Cleveland media, but anybody that was within six feet of me and my smelly foot, is probably really happy.”