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Olson strong for Tribe in spring debut

Bradley scratched; Martin returns; Lindor continues to progress
@MandyBell02
February 24, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When it comes to their bullpen, the Indians aren’t worried about the number of righties and lefties. They just want guys who can get outs. Tyler Olson did exactly that in his first Spring Training appearance of the year.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When it comes to their bullpen, the Indians aren’t worried about the number of righties and lefties. They just want guys who can get outs. Tyler Olson did exactly that in his first Spring Training appearance of the year.

In Sunday’s 12-3 loss to the D-backs at Goodyear Ballpark, Olson was one of the bright spots for the Tribe, striking out the side in his one inning on the mound.

”On a day when we didn’t get a lot of guys out, he did really well,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Changed angles, even to the right-handers.”

In 2017, Olson didn't allow a run in his 30 appearances (20 innings) and notched 18 strikeouts. Last year, the left-hander faced more challenges, logging a 4.94 ERA in 43 games with a 1.39 WHIP and battling a left latissimus dorsi strain, which is a muscle that goes from the upper back into the side of the body.

”He’s a guy that a couple years ago, he came and kind of really pitched well for us,” Francona said. "Last year, there were ups and downs, some of it physically, but when he’s healthy, he can pitch.”

The Indians have a lot of arms to choose from in camp and few open spots on the 25-man roster, so Olson will need to stay healthy and consistent on the mound to earn his place in the Tribe’s bullpen in 2019.

”Just [told him] to be himself,” Francona said. “We told him we’re not worried about how many left-handers we carry because one, [closer Brad] Hand pitches at the end of the game anyway, but we just want guys that can get outs.”

Bradley scratched

Francona said first baseman Bobby Bradley landed awkwardly on his shoulder when he dove for a ball in Saturday’s game against the Reds. He was originally penciled in the Indians’ lineup as the designated hitter on Sunday, but he was scratched for precautionary reasons.

”Again, second day of Spring Training,” Francona said. “We’ll give him a couple days just to make sure he’s OK.”

Martin returns

In his first game since his battle with a life-threatening bacterial infection in August, Leonys Martin went 0-for-2 and started in center field. In his first at-bat, he grounded out to second base. He was robbed of a hit on a diving catch by D-backs left fielder Tim Locastro to end the second inning.

”I think he’s enjoying playing baseball right now,” Francona said. “I think he’s in a good place, but we’ll keep an eye on him."

Lindor update

Although there hasn’t been much of a change in Francisco Lindor’s rehab process, Francona said that the shortstop has started doing some distance walking on the anti-gravity treadmill that displaces some of his weight.

”That’s where he’s progressed to,” Francona said. “He’s doing a little bit of strength work. He’s progressing really well. Those are the things he’s doing, other than contrast and those things in the training room.”

In the pipeline

Daniel Johnson, the Indians' No. 22 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and Oscar Mercado (No. 19) had impressive showings at the plate on Sunday. Johnson got the Indians on the board with an RBI double to right-center field in the third inning, and Mercado went 2-for-3, hitting a two-run homer in the ninth.

”We get to see the young guys these first 10 days, two weeks more than [any other time] because that’s when they’re going to play,” Francona said. “It’s fun to watch. [Ernie] Clement, [Mark] Mathias, Daniel Johnson, we seem to have a good, young group that seems like they appreciate their playing time, so they are going to get some.”

Up next

The Indians host the Rangers on Monday at 3:05 p.m. ET at Goodyear Ballpark. Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer is slated to make his first start of the spring. Lefty Mike Minor will get the start for Texas.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.