Brantley feeling good, hits first spring homer

Indians outfielder goes deep in first inning Sunday

Brantley feeling good, hits first spring homer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley stared at the lineup sheet hanging inside the Indians' clubhouse on Sunday morning and did not see his name. The Indians' left fielder then pulled the paper off the wall, and he marched into the team's training room.

A few minutes later, bench coach Brad Mills posted a fresh lineup on the board with Brantley's name in the No. 2 spot and him starting in left field. With one mistake corrected, Brantley then took advantage of another. In the first inning of the Tribe's 6-5 win over the D-backs, the left fielder launched a two-run home run over the right-field wall at Salt River Fields.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Elementary scoop: GM's kid adorably leaks news?

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Elementary scoop: GM's kid adorably leaks news?

Look, much as we love Spring Training, there's a lot of time to fill. The fun of watching those prospects you've heard so much about and the sheer joy of seeing real, actual baseball again can only carry you so far, and after that, there's still a game to finish.

So, in the ninth inning of the Indians' loss to the White Sox on Saturday, Cleveland's radio team decided to welcome a special guest to the booth: Brody Chernoff, son of Indians GM Mike Chernoff. Things were going great at first, until (with a little prodding from play-by-play man Tom Hamilton) Brody forgot the cardinal rule of being a general manager's son -- don't talk about dad's phone calls. 

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Tribe's Opening Day squad starts to take shape

Jackson will make 25-man roster; Zimmer among those sent to Minors

Tribe's Opening Day squad starts to take shape

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians made a flurry of decisions on Sunday morning, bringing their Opening Day roster a little more into focus.

Outfielder Austin Jackson was informed he will make the 25-man roster and center fielder Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland's No. 1-ranked prospect per MLBPipeline.com, was among the players sent back to the Minor Leagues. Indians manager Terry Francona said the message to Zimmer was simple.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Colabello, Brantley power Tribe's five-run first

Colabello, Brantley power Tribe's five-run first

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley launched his first home run of the spring, helping power a five-run first inning in the Indians' 6-5 Cactus League victory over the D-backs on Sunday at Salt River Fields.

Brantley, who is trying to be ready for Opening Day after 18 months of dealing with right shoulder and biceps issues, belted a pitch from Arizona lefty Robbie Ray to deep right field for a two-run homer. Chris Colabello later followed with a three-run blast, helping provide early support for a solid outing from starter Trevor Bauer.

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Impressed by veteran, Tribe keeping Jackson

Outfielder informed he's made Opening Day roster

Impressed by veteran, Tribe keeping Jackson

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Austin Jackson was called into the office of Indians manager Terry Francona on Sunday morning. After their closed-door discussion, the veteran outfielder emerged and his name remained in the lineup for the afternoon game against the D-backs.

Jackson was informed that he would be on the Opening Day roster.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Martinez perseveres following final out of Game 7

Martinez perseveres following final out of Game 7

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The TV graphic flashed his uninspiring season stats -- a .242 average, one home run, four RBIs, a .574 OPS, plus three strikeouts in three postseason at-bats.

Two outs, one on, down one in the 10th inning of Game 7, and the person the Indians sent to the plate was No. 1, according to his jersey, but No. 25, according to his role.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmer reassigned after making strong impression

Top prospect sent to Minor League camp, but close to Majors

Zimmer reassigned after making strong impression

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians painted a clear picture of the landscape for Bradley Zimmer at the start of Spring Training. The club's No. 1 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, was not in camp to be on the Opening Day roster, but rather to gain valuable experience and, above all else, to make a strong impression.

"I would say he flew past that about a month ago," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Ramirez deal emphasizes Indians' commitment

Ramirez deal emphasizes Indians' commitment

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jose Ramirez was in the Indians' clubhouse Saturday morning, sitting inside his locker and scrolling through his phone. The infielder was not wrapped in bubble wrap, as was jokingly posted on his Twitter account Friday night.

The source of that joke is there are still steps left before Ramirez and the Indians can officially announce the five-year, $26 million contract extension that was agreed upon Friday. Pending a routine physical, Cleveland will likely be ready to hold a news conference early next week.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Tomlin works 6 1/3 frames, Santana homers

Tomlin works 6 1/3 frames, Santana homers

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Danny Hayes' ninth-inning grand slam capped a six-homer day for the White Sox in a 10-7 Cactus League victory over the Indians on Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark. Four of Chicago's shots came off Tribe righty Josh Tomlin, who was still able to work into the seventh in his continued march toward the regular season.

Jacob May -- ranked 26th among the White Sox top 30 prospects by MLBPipeline.com -- opened the game with a home run off Tomlin to set the tone. Before the right-hander exited, Cody Asche, Jose Abreu and Everth Cabrera had also taken Tomlin deep. Hayes' game-deciding shot came off righty Joseph Colon, who is competing for a spot in the Indians' bullpen.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Kipnis gets cage action, Chisenhall shut down

Kipnis gets cage action, Chisenhall shut down

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jason Kipnis has taken the first step back toward the Indians lineup. The second baseman resumed baseball activities Friday, continuing his comeback from a right shoulder injury that has kept him sidelined for most of the spring.

Indians manager Terry Francona said Saturday morning that Kipnis took some swings in the batting cage, and did some light throwing. Kipnis is expected to open the season on the 10-day disabled list, and it could be another three to four weeks before he is cleared to play in Major League games.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Tribe, Ramirez agree to 5-year extension

Deal worth $26M, with maximum value of $50M; team holds options for '22, '23

Tribe, Ramirez agree to 5-year extension

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jose Ramirez was one of the most valuable members of the Indians last season, filling in at multiple positions and enjoying one of baseball's best breakout campaigns. Cleveland clearly believes that last summer's performance was no fluke.

On Friday night, MLB.com confirmed that the Indians reached an agreement with Ramirez on a five-year, $26 million contract extension that includes team options for 2022 and '23, pending a physical. The deal has a maximum value of $50 million.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Tribe deems Kluber 'ready' for Opening Day start

Tribe deems Kluber 'ready' for Opening Day start

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The assumption all along has been that Corey Kluber would start on Opening Day for the Indians. Throughout this spring, manager Terry Francona has also noted that Cleveland could adjust its rotation should his ace need some extra time.

In his latest Cactus League start, Kluber turned in a performance that made it clear that he is feeling just fine as the regular season nears. Following a conservative start to camp -- due to the heavy load he shouldered in the postseason last year -- Kluber is on target to take the ball in the April 3 opener against the Rangers in Arlington.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Back in Cactus action, Carrasco feels 'normal'

Righty throwing free and easy, but Tribe not rushing him after elbow issue

Back in Cactus action, Carrasco feels 'normal'

MESA, Ariz. -- Every pitch Carlos Carrasco has thrown since his elbow flareup earlier this spring has provided a little more peace of mind. On Friday, the Indians starter logged three innings against the Cubs in a 4-2 victory and again felt a mental lift.

"I can throw like normal," Carrasco said. "Now, I can throw every pitch."

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Carrasco solid; Urshela, Colabello go deep

Carrasco solid; Urshela, Colabello go deep

MESA, Ariz. -- Starters Carlos Carrasco and John Lackey combined to give up just one run over nine innings as the Indians topped the Cubs, 4-2, on Friday afternoon at Sloan Park.

Carrasco, who was making his first Cactus League start since March 13 after he was skipped in the rotation with right elbow inflammation, held the Cubs scoreless for three innings.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Back from Classic, Miller has lot of work to do

Tribe's lefty relief ace fine-tuning fastball, slider

Back from Classic, Miller has lot of work to do

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Andrew Miller returned to Arizona with a strong sense of pride over Team USA's championship run in the World Baseball Classic. The Indians' lefty relief ace also rejoined Cleveland's camp unsatisfied with how he has thrown the ball over the past two weeks.

Over the remaining days of Spring Training, Miller plans on fine-tuning his fastball and slider in preparation for the season. Manager Terry Francona noted that he may have Miller pitch in some Minor League games to provide a more controlled setting for him to get in some specific work.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Tribe returns Rule 5 pick Milner to Phillies

Tribe returns Rule 5 pick Milner to Phillies

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Hoby Milner understood the landscape when he stepped into the Indians' clubhouse at the start of this spring. There was only one bullpen spot available and Cleveland already had a pair of skilled veteran lefites on the team in Andrew Miller and Boone Logan.

It was going to take a lot for Milner -- picked by Cleveland in the Rule 5 Draft in December -- to crack the Tribe's Opening Day roster. That possibility officially came to an end Friday, when the Indians returned Milner to the Phillies in exchange for $50,000.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

WBC '17 quartet back to business as usual

Tribe's Francisco Lindor, Roberto Perez, Andrew Miller and Joseph Colon eager to make up for lost time

WBC '17 quartet back to business as usual

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona has made it no secret that he did not like how disjointed Spring Training felt with the World Baseball Classic removing players from camp. With the tournament now complete, Cleveland can return to business as usual.

The United States defeated Puerto Rico in the Classic championship on Wednesday to clear the way for shortstop Francisco Lindor, catcher Roberto Perez, relief ace Andrew Miller and reliever Joseph Colon to return to Tribe camp. Over the next few days, that group will begin being worked back into the Cactus League mix for the Indians.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Almonte's 3-for-3 day backs Kluber's gem

Almonte's 3-for-3 day backs Kluber's gem

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians ace Corey Kluber looked sharp during an 8-3 win over the Rockies on Thursday in his continued march toward Opening Day. Cleveland is still trying to determine whether left fielder Michael Brantley will also be ready for the start of the season.

Brantley went 0-for-3 in the victory, which marked his first back-to-back games of the Cactus League season for Cleveland. The outfielder is trying to complete a comeback from right biceps surgery in August, following the right shoulder surgery that kept him sidelined for most of last season.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diaz logging extra hours in pursuit of 3B role

Diaz logging extra hours in pursuit of 3B role

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Yandy Diaz has spent a lot of time on the backfields at the Indians' complex over the past couple of weeks. An opportunity exists for him at third base, so Diaz has been working hard with third-base coach and infield instructor Mike Sarbaugh, like a student cramming for an exam.

Opening Day looms on April 3 for the Tribe and there is little question that Diaz could probably hold his own on the Major League roster as a hitter. With roster decisions nearing, what the Indians are trying to determine is whether he can provide the kind of defense required at the hot corner.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Salazar feels 'terrific, strong' after outing

Righty 'lost control' in one bad inning against Rockies

Salazar feels 'terrific, strong' after outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Despite easily his ugliest line this spring, Indians starter Danny Salazar declared himself ready for the regular season with less than two weeks before Opening Day.

Salazar was hit hard by the Rockies on Wednesday in a 10-2 loss at Salt River Fields. But he was in good spirits after the five-inning outing that was supposed to be six innings.

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Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Indians on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lindor among All-Classic Team standouts

Along with Hosmer, pair selected unanimously to field of 12 honorees

Lindor among All-Classic Team standouts

Following a thrilling World Baseball Classic that culminated in the United States winning its first title thanks to Wednesday's 8-0 win over Puerto Rico, World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) announced the All-World Baseball Classic Team.

From the champions, tournament Most Valuable Player Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays (2.35 ERA, six-plus scoreless innings in final), Eric Hosmer of the Royals (unanimous choice) and Christian Yelich of the Marlins were selected. Stroman, as WBC 2017 MVP, joined Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka ('06 and '09) and the Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano ('13) as MVPs in Classic history.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carrasco healthy, ramping up innings

Carrasco healthy, ramping up innings

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The fact Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco came out of Monday's Minor League appearance feeling healthy is an important start. But he will have to ramp it up in his next two appearances if he is to start the team's second game of the regular season.

Carrasco threw 33 pitches in 1 2/3 innings against Reds' Minor Leaguers and his longest outing this spring was three innings on March 8.

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Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Indians on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Salazar strikes out 5, but gives up 7 runs

Salazar strikes out 5, but gives up 7 runs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland continued his push for a rotation spot by striking out five in five innings, and delivering a two-run single, in a 10-2 victory over the Indians on Wednesday afternoon at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Freeland, who baffled hitters with sharp breaking pitches and challenged hitters inside with his fastball, held Cleveland to one run and four hits while lowering his spring ERA to 2.25. A Denver native who was the team's top pick in 2014, Freeland forced a Jose Ramirez double-play grounder to end the first, and coasted through an outing that could put him closer to making the Opening Day roster.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Can Yandy handle defense at third?

Beat reporter Jordan Bastian answers Tribe fans' questions

Inbox: Can Yandy handle defense at third?

Yandy Diaz's scouting reports all pretty much say that he's a plus defender at third base. Baseball America had him as their best defensive third baseman in 2014. How did he go from someone considered so highly at third to a guy that, every time Indians manager Terry Francona mentions him, he has to knock his defense?
-- Chip D.

I wouldn't call Francona's assessment of Diaz's defense "knocking" the prospect. What I think the Tribe manager has tried to do is make it clear that Diaz, who is ranked as the Indians' 10th-best prospect by MLBPipeline.com, is not a finished product, and point out that he simply does not have the same number of reps at third (or the same level of Major League experience) as some of the other candidates.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Scouts' honor: Reports help Tribe rack up K's

Scouts' honor: Reports help Tribe rack up K's

There's more to the Indians' strikeout rate than big arms and devastating pitches.

Pitching coach Mickey Callaway credits the organization's opponent scouting system with giving pitchers confidence in their ability to get ahead in the count.

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Logan Newman is a senior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diaz among top prospect performers

Diaz among top prospect performers

J.D. Davis is heating up at the perfect time. As the season draws near, hits are coming in bunches for the Astros' No. 13 prospect.

The 23-year-old third baseman went 3-for-4, his first three-hit game of Spring Training, in Houston's 8-4 win over the Twins on Wednesday.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Smooth return for Brantley soothes Tribe

Francona: Outfielder 'amazingly normal' in first spring game

Smooth return for Brantley soothes Tribe

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- To a somewhat turbulent Tribe camp arrived a much-appreciated Smooth day.

It was Dr. Smooth, otherwise known as Michael Brantley, out there in left field and in the second spot of the batting order against the Dodgers at Goodyear Ballpark on Monday. And the best compliment you can pay Brantley is that he looked very much like himself -- or, as manager Terry Francona put it, "amazingly normal" -- reaching base on all three trips to the plate, driving in and scoring a run in the Indians' 14-5 win.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.