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Ramirez assumes Tribe's super-utility role

Versatile infielder to prepare for job by playing left, center at camp
MLB.com @MLBastian

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When the Indians let Mike Aviles go via free agency this offseason, the team had an opening for a super utility player. Cleveland believes that the versatile Jose Ramirez will be able to handle that role.

Ramirez is a switch-hitter, offers speed off the bench and can handle second base, shortstop and third base. Indians manager Terry Francona noted Monday that Ramirez will also get work as a left and center fielder this spring to prepare for his new gig.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When the Indians let Mike Aviles go via free agency this offseason, the team had an opening for a super utility player. Cleveland believes that the versatile Jose Ramirez will be able to handle that role.

Ramirez is a switch-hitter, offers speed off the bench and can handle second base, shortstop and third base. Indians manager Terry Francona noted Monday that Ramirez will also get work as a left and center fielder this spring to prepare for his new gig.

Indians' Spring Training info

"Earlier rather than later," said Francona, referring to having Ramirez play some outfield in Spring Training. "Left field a little bit. We're going to try to run him into center field a little bit, too. Left and center, just to kind of break the ice a little bit early in camp."

Ramirez, 23, has had stints with the Indians in each of the past three seasons. Last year, he hit .219 with a .631 OPS in 97 games overall, while logging innings at second, short, third and in left field. Following a stint back in the Minors, Ramirez hit .259 with a .775 OPS in his final 50 games last season.

Other items of note from Monday:

• Jason Giambi, who is a guest instructor for the Indians this spring, spent time with Michael Brantley in the batting cage Monday. Brantley (recovering from offseason surgery on his right shoulder) asked Giambi to take a look at his swing as he hit off a tee.

Brantley reiterates desire to return by opener

"He looked great. He looked really free," Giambi said. "He didn't look like he was babying it at all, which is really encouraging. Most guys that I've seen with that injury -- plus, when it's your lead hand -- would tend to baby the swing toward the end, because that's where you've had the surgery. He looked great."

• Francona and members of the front office and coaching staff held individual meetings with the Tribe's position players Monday. One meeting of note was with Lonnie Chisenhall, who is entering this season as a right fielder for the first time after switching from third base midway through last year.

"It was the first thing I told him," Francona said. "'Who would have thought last year you'd be sitting here talking as a right fielder and we'd be complimenting you?' The game's funny. ... He enjoys [the outfield] and he's good at it. It's exciting for us, because you can see it directly help us win some games."

• Right-hander Craig Stammen, who is returning from surgery to repair flexor tendons in his right forearm, threw off the mound during Monday's workout. Stammen has worked through a handful of bullpen sessions, but is behind the rest of the pitchers in camp and is not expected to be ready in time for Opening Day.

• Cleveland's position players reported to Arizona on Sunday and went through physicals Monday at the team's Goodyear facility. The Indians will hold their first full-squad workout Tuesday morning.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez