Notes: Naquin to IL; Johnson plays; cutouts

July 25th, 2020

CLEVELAND -- The Indians did their best to prevent outfielder from landing on the injured list. By Saturday, the club realized the move was unavoidable.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the team placed Naquin on the 10-day IL because of a hairline fracture of a toe on his right foot. The team recalled pitcher , scheduled to start Tuesday, to take his place on the 30-man active roster.

“He went out earlier, and they got him some orthotics and things like that,” Francona said. “He’s just not to the point where he’s able to [play]. I think the pain is becoming more minute, or in a smaller area.”

Francona said the team make the move retroactive to July 22, which would make Naquin available to be activated on Aug. 1. The outfielder has been plagued by injuries the last three seasons, including two 60-day IL stints for hip and ACL surgeries. Naquin suffered an ACL tear last August after an otherwise healthy season and was ready to pick up where he left off when he returned to Summer Camp. But he fouled a pitch off his right foot Monday night in an exhibition game against the Pirates, which caused the fracture.

The club left Plesac off the Opening Day roster to leave an extra spot open for outfield depth in without needing to place Naquin on the injured list.

“We kind of felt he deserved to be on the team anyway,” Francona said of Plesac. “That will allow him to work out with us the next couple days leading up to his start.”

Johnson to make Major League debut
With Naquin’s absence, Johnson was penciled in the starting lineup in right field, batting sixth. The 25-year-old was sent down to the Indians’ alternate training site in Lake County earlier in the week, but with Naquin’s injury, general manager Mike Chernoff called Johnson and let him know he had made the Opening Day roster.

“It definitely wasn’t expected,” Johnson said. “ I was just kind of hanging out, getting ready to go to the alternate site the next day. So I was kind of winding down when I got that call. It hasn’t really set in that much yet. Maybe when I get on the field a little. But it was definitely a happy call.”

Francona on cardboard crowd
The Indians placed a handful of cardboard cutouts down the right- and left-field lines at Progressive Field on Friday night and likely will continue to do so for the rest of the season. The faces consist of randomly selected season-ticket holders, former Indians player , their Hot Dog mascots, actor Nicholas Cage and others. But the fake crowd didn’t quite give off the energy level Francona was accustomed to.

“I never call out our fans, but I will say I was disappointed in our crowd last night,” Francona quipped. “I counted 20 people on the right-field side and 20 people on the left. I would say I was disappointed. They didn’t move during the whole game. They didn’t yell. They didn’t move. They just sat there.”