The Indians were concerned that Jordan Luplow would need more than a day or two off after he felt discomfort in his left groin. And when Eddie Rosario was removed from Monday night’s series opener against the Royals due to pain in his left knee, the club should be relieved as it appears that both outfielders are likely to avoid injured list stints.
Luplow worked out with Cleveland's training staff on Monday and felt better when he reported to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday. He started in left field against a left-handed starter in Kansas City's Mike Minor.
“He's doing OK,” manager Terry Francona said of Luplow. “He's going to play left field tonight. We're going to keep him out of center. I don't think he's 100 percent, but he showed good strength with our trainers. Having his bat in there against a lefty could hopefully be really helpful.”
Rosario said after the series opener that his knee was already feeling a lot better than it was during the game. He hustled into the gap in an attempt to cut off a Hunter Dozier line drive before it reached the wall and felt some pain in his knee – basically like it was overextended. Even though he said it was feeling better, the Indians decided to keep him out of Tuesday’s lineup.
“Eddie felt pretty good,” Francona said. “Just think he needs a day.”
Maton serves as opener
Cleveland made a last-minute change to its rotation plans on Tuesday, slotting Phil Maton in as the opener to Sam Hentges, who was originally slated to make his first career big league start. Since Hentges has been working out of the bullpen after being called up on April 20, he’s not as stretched out as he may have been at the alternate training site.
By putting Maton in to pitch 1 1/3 innings, that took some of the pressure off Hentges, who was expected to throw between 55 and 75 pitches, and it also lined him up to face the bottom of the Royals’ lineup more frequently than the top. And with Maton’s splits history of having pretty equal results against left- and right-handed hitting, Francona thought he was best suited to serve as the opener.
“If they had four righties, you probably could go for a guy who seems to do better against righties," Francona said. “Knowing that they have some balance there, having a guy that's more of an even-split guy, [Tyler] Clippard was like that. We thought about [Nick] Sandlin. He has started in his college career. We felt with one outing under his belt at the Major League level that might be a little unfair.”
Minor League season underway
After a year without Minor League Baseball, the wait is finally over. Tuesday marked Opening Day for all Minor League clubs, and Francona couldn’t help but smile when he was asked about what it means to have all the young prospects back in regular game action again.
“It's so cool that they're playing,” Francona said. “I felt so bad for our kids that missed a year of baseball. I hate to use the word 'devastating' because it's not life and death, but it's not good for young baseball players. … You're looking at jobs that people lost and work at the stadiums. There's so much good that's going to come from this.”