Indians patiently wait for Brantley's return

Contingency plans in place as several outfielders set to battle this spring

Indians patiently wait for Brantley's return

CLEVELAND -- The most important position battle for the Indians was not originally a part of the plans. When Michael Brantley required surgery on his right shoulder in November, it was a setback that altered Cleveland's winter and complicated the coming spring.

Knowing that Brantley's comeback could linger into the season, the Indians needed to build up as much outfield depth as possible. A dozen players will be in camp jockeying for potential Opening Day jobs, but the Tribe's hope is that the April alignment will be a temporary situation aimed at holding down the fort until Brantley is cleared to return.

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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.

Indians sign reliever Hunter to 1-year deal

Indians sign reliever Hunter to 1-year deal

CLEVELAND -- The Indians already stood to have a tight bullpen race this spring. Cleveland just made the competition for relief jobs a little more interesting with the signing of right-hander Tommy Hunter to a one-year contract.

The Indians officially added Hunter to the fold on Friday, effectively eliminating one of the vacancies in the Tribe's bullpen. As things stand right now, Hunter joins closer Cody Allen, setup men Bryan Shaw and Zach McAllister, and righty Jeff Manship on the list of virtual locks for the Indians' relief corps.

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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.

Indians bringing top prospects to camp

Armstrong, Clevinger among Minor Leaguers vying for roster spots

Indians bringing top prospects to camp

CLEVELAND -- When Cody Anderson took the mound for the first time last season, he stood on the pitching rubber at Canal Park in Akron, Ohio. Progressive Field was only 40 miles away, but the big leagues probably felt a lot more distant than that for the young pitcher.

By June, Anderson was in the Majors, logging quality innings for Cleveland and helping the team claw back into the playoff race until the final week of the season. As the Indians plan for 2016, there are a handful of prospects worth monitoring down on the farm. Anderson showed that even an under-the-radar prospect can make an impact earlier than anticipated.

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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.

Catcher Quiroz inks Minors deal with Indians

Catcher Quiroz inks Minors deal with Indians

CLEVELAND -- With a wealth of pitchers set to be in camp this spring, the Indians added another layer of catching depth to help handle the workload.

On Friday, Cleveland signed veteran catcher Guillermo Quiroz to a Minor League contract, which includes an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club. Quiroz gives the Tribe five catchers for camp, joining starter Yan Gomes, backup Roberto Perez, and non-roster invitees Adam Moore and Anthony Recker.

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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.

Complementary pieces strengthen Tribe's core

Additions of Napoli, Davis give lineup more pop, speed

Complementary pieces strengthen Tribe's core

CLEVELAND -- Up and down the American League Central, the Indians' rivals made blockbuster moves this offseason. Cleveland added a handful of complementary pieces, putting more stock in keeping its core together than doing anything dramatic on the winter stage.

"A lot of times, whoever wins the winter doesn't necessarily win in the season," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It looks to me like the American League is good, not just our division."

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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.

Brantley among Indians looking to bounce back

Tribe hoping for better health, more production in 2016

Brantley among Indians looking to bounce back

CLEVELAND -- The Indians fell short of expectations last year, finishing third in the American League Central, well short of the preseason prognostications that pegged the club as a World Series contender.

As Cleveland looks to make a team-wide comeback in 2016, there will be a number of individuals also aiming for a reversal of fortunes.

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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.

Indians sign Stammen to Minor League deal

Right-hander joins competition for spot in bullpen

Indians sign Stammen to Minor League deal

CLEVELAND -- After spending his entire career with the Nationals, reliever Craig Stammen is starting a new chapter with the Tribe.

The Indians finalized a Minor League contract on Monday with Stammen, who also received an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club. The veteran right-hander will go into camp with a chance at cracking Cleveland's bullpen, which has a handful of vacancies and a long list of competitors.

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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.

Indians catch spring fever on Truck Day

Indians catch spring fever on Truck Day

CLEVELAND -- A pair of moving trucks pulled out of Progressive Field on Friday morning, beginning the annual cross-country journey from Cleveland to Goodyear, Ariz. There is no word yet whether the trucks saw their shadows, but spring is definitely arriving fast for the Indians.

"I don't know what they're talking about with this Punxsutawney Phil," quipped Marty Bokovitz, the Indians' assistant home clubhouse manager. "This is the first day of spring right here, isn't it? When the trucks roll out, everybody gets excited. Spring is starting. Baseball's back. It should be a holiday."

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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.

Lindor eager for sophomore season with Tribe

Star shortstop says No. 1 goal is to help club reach postseason

Lindor eager for sophomore season with Tribe

CLEVELAND -- It was unseasonably warm when a large group of Indians players convened last week for Tribe Fest. Around Northeast Ohio, snow shovels gathered dust, heavy jackets were ditched and fans could daydream a little about the upcoming season.

Francisco Lindor also was dreaming of returning to a baseball diamond, and soon, because the Cleveland air still had a little too much bite for his liking. The young shortstop was born in Puerto Rico, resides in Florida and now spends his springs in Arizona.

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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.

Indians backing Feller for Medal of Freedom

Indians backing Feller for Medal of Freedom

CLEVELAND -- After Pearl Harbor pulled the U.S. into World War II, Indians pitcher Bob Feller felt compelled to join in the fight. He temporarily abandoned his baseball career and became the first ballplayer to enlist in the U.S. Navy after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.

On Wednesday, the Indians filed a petition to President Barack Obama, launching a campaign aimed at having the late Feller honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by March 4 to require a response from the White House.

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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.

Tribe farmhand Maronde to play in WBC qualifying round

Left-hander will suit up for New Zealand in Sydney tournament

Tribe farmhand Maronde to play in WBC qualifying round

CLEVELAND -- The fourth installment of the World Baseball Classic is scheduled to begin next spring, giving many of baseball's biggest stars the chance to suit up with pride for their home countries. This month, the first steps toward that global stage are being constructed.

A series of qualifiers are approaching fast, helping narrow the field for next year's tournament. The first one will take place in Sydney, Australia, giving Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines the chance to move on to the 2017 Classic. One of the Indians' farmhands, left-hander Nick Maronde, will play for New Zealand in the upcoming six-game, double-elimination tournament.

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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.

Countdown to Spring Training: Appreciating the Indians' rotation

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Countdown to Spring Training: Appreciating the Indians' rotation

While the respective dinger exploits of Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy certainly helped, the Mets blazed through the NL last season behind an army of flame-throwing starters -- the product of a certified ace and several heralded prospects coming together at the perfect time. 

But enough about last season. Spring Training is less than two weeks away, which means it's time to dream about which team is most likely to follow the Mets' blueprint and shock the league with a breakout staff in 2016. Allow us to introduce the Cleveland Indians.

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Alomar trade taught Indians valuable lesson

Deal in 2001 led to Cleveland reshaping its front-office system

Alomar trade taught Indians valuable lesson

CLEVELAND -- Groundhog Day, an unofficial holiday normally associated with a large rodent and its long-range weather forecast, has taken on a second life as a holiday for do-overs ever since Bill Murray lived the same day over and over in the 1993 movie.

In the spirit of the holiday, MLB.com asked front-office leaders around baseball to discuss trades that they wish they could do over, if given the chance. Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti pointed to a blockbuster deal in 2001 that served as a learning experience and created drastic changes to Cleveland's methods.

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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.

Francona has lineup decisions with Brantley sidelined

No. 3 hitter underwent offseason right shoulder surgery

Francona has lineup decisions with Brantley sidelined

CLEVELAND -- This much is certain: The Indians will have an Opening Day lineup.

A few of the names and just about every spot in the batting order will be worked out between now and then, and manager Terry Francona will surely take his time in sorting through its structure.

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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.

Hart revisits '98 trade talk for Big Unit

Longtime exec envisions Groundhog Day redo from Cleveland tenure

Hart revisits '98 trade talk for Big Unit

ATLANTA -- Braves president of baseball operations John Hart stands as one of the few men in this world who can say he has experienced extended success as a professional sports executive in Cleveland.

While leading the Indians to six division crowns and two American League pennants within a seven-season span from 1995-2001, Hart orchestrated a number of valuable trades, including the one that brought Marquis Grissom and David Justice to Cleveland and sent Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree to Atlanta just before the start of the 1997 season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Amid rumors, rotation happy to remain intact

Tribe's starting staff likely a strength again this year

Amid rumors, rotation happy to remain intact

CLEVELAND -- Danny Salazar was not worrying too much about the trade rumors that surfaced throughout this winter. Whenever the Indians pitcher heard from manager Terry Francona or someone from the team's front office, they never brought up that subject.

It was the people around Salazar who heard the rumblings, and tried to keep him in the loop.

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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.

Davis impressed by big turnout at Tribe Fest

New Indians outfielder enjoys meeting and interacting with teammates, fans

Davis impressed by big turnout at Tribe Fest

CLEVELAND -- The Indians knew the location for Tribe Fest would not be ideal this year, but that did not stop the team's fans from showing up and making the annual event a success once again.

On Saturday, the Indians enjoyed a sold-out performance from their loyalists, who flocked to Aloft Hotel in downtown Cleveland for the chance to meet many of the players and continue the countdown to the 2016 season. For the Indians, it was a great chance to have face-to-face interaction with their fans on the cusp of what the team hopes is a memorable year.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Brantley biggest X-factor in competitive AL Central

Left fielder's healthy return could propel Indians to postseason

Brantley biggest X-factor in competitive AL Central

CLEVELAND -- Back at the Winter Meetings, a report began to circulate that Michael Brantley -- already slated to miss some time early in the season due to offseason right shoulder surgery -- might actually be out of the Indians' lineup until August. Reporters scrambled to follow up on this information, Indians officials worked to suppress it and fans panicked.

As for Brantley himself?

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Playing Pictionary with fans, Shaw bests Lindor

Playing Pictionary with fans, Shaw bests Lindor

CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor stood on stage in front of an easel, autographing a large sheet of paper that included frantically drawn doodles of a can and a corn cob. One thing is for certain, Indians fan Chad Milburn has a souvenir unlike anyone else.

"Oh my god," Milburn said with a laugh. "No one else in the world has something like this -- that's for sure."

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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.

Kipnis wins Tribe Fest because fan names puppy in his honor

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Kipnis wins Tribe Fest because fan names puppy in his honor

Tribe Fest -- the annual preseason festival for Indians fans -- isn't a competition. There's no scoreboard or field of play defined by boundaries and there's little objective beyond, "get pumped about the upcoming Indians season."

Still, though, Jason Kipnis managed to emerge victorious.

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Thome bobblehead part of promotional schedule

Thome bobblehead part of promotional schedule

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have already given Jim Thome a statue outside Gate C at Progressive Field. Earlier this week, the team inducted the franchise's home run king into its Hall of Fame. Now, Thome is getting a bobblehead.

On Saturday morning, the Indians revealed their promotional schedule for 2016, which includes three bobbleheads, six jerseys and a variety of other items and events. The Thome bobblehead will be given away on July 30, when the former slugger, Albert Belle, Frank Robinson and Charlie Jamieson are celebrated in a pregame ceremony for this year's Indians Hall of Fame class.

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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.

Thome, Belle among 4 new Indians Hall of Famers

Robinson, Jamieson also to be inducted July 30

Thome, Belle among 4 new Indians Hall of Famers

CLEVELAND -- Four new plaques will soon be on display in Heritage Park, honoring the newest members of the Indians Hall of Fame. There is no shortage of accomplishments among the inductees, a quartet well-deserving of enshrinement by a ballclub with more than a century's worth of history.

Jim Thome: The Indians' all-time home run king. Albert Belle: The only player in baseball history to achieve a season consisting of 50 home runs and 50 doubles. Frank Robinson: The first African-American manager in baseball history. Charlie Jamieson: A member of the 1920 World Series champions.

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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.

Indians land three on Top 100 Prospects list

Outfielders Zimmer (No .26) and Frazier (No. 27) and 1B Bradley (No. 93) make cut

Indians land three on Top 100 Prospects list

CLEVELAND -- Brad Zimmer and Clint Frazier got a taste of playing alongside one another last season. The ultimate goal for both the players and the Indians is for the highly-touted prospects to someday share the outfield at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Zimmer and Frazier were in the same outfield at Class A Advanced Lynchburg for much of last summer before the former was promoted to Double-A Akron. On Friday, the pair of young outfielders were also right next to each other on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list for the 2016 season. Zimmer (No. 26), Frazier (No. 27) and first baseman Bobby Bradley (No. 93) all made the cut.

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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.

Indians interact with fans at Town Hall meeting

Francona addresses topics on fans' minds, while players also take the stage

Indians interact with fans at Town Hall meeting

CLEVELAND -- When Indians manager Terry Francona is spotted in downtown Cleveland at this time of year, Spring Training must be right around the corner. On the eve of the annual Tribe Fest, Francona popped out of the offseason shadows and met with season-ticket holders Friday.

"Tito is truly Punxsutawney Phil," Indians broadcaster Matt Underwood joked. "Seeing him is the first sign of spring."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Come and enjoy the moment, Albert

Cheers await Belle at Indians Hall of Fame induction

Come and enjoy the moment, Albert

CLEVELAND -- On an otherwise nondescript day at Indians camp last spring, a gray-haired, scruffy-faced, big-bodied man wearing a golf shirt and shorts stood in the center of the clubhouse near the snacks, either unnoticed or simply ignored by the players filtering in and out of the room.

Time was, a person could genuinely feel Albert Belle's presence in a Major League clubhouse. This is the man who once smashed a thermostat with his bat to permanently set it at a cool temperature (earning the nickname Mr. Freeze). A man who was once so upset about making an out that he retreated to the clubhouse and smashed the china plates that were set up for the postgame spread. A man who once chased a team intern out of the room with his bat when the kid had the gall to approach him about an autograph for charity shortly before game time.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Tribe players surprise Cleveland's RBI champs

Brantley, Kipnis lead huge turnout at Greater Cleveland Sports Awards banquet

Tribe players surprise Cleveland's RBI champs

CLEVELAND -- It was surprise enough when member of the Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI Softball team got to share the stage with Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis of the Indians. What they did not know was that more than a dozen other players would soon be joining them.

During the 16th annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards banquet on Thursday night, the Indians caught the 2015 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities' Softball World Series champions off guard during their award presentation. Brantley, Kipnis and the majority of the Tribe's big league roster gathered around the young women and presented them with the Amateur Athlete of the Year accolade.

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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.

Brantley encouraged by shoulder rehab

Tribe outfielder hopes to be ready Opening Day but won't rush process

Brantley encouraged by shoulder rehab

CLEVELAND -- If it were up to Michael Brantley, the Indians outfielder would be in the lineup come Opening Day. Brantley knows, however, it might not be realistic to carve that into stone as he attempts to come back from right shoulder surgery.

On Thursday night, Brantley discussed his status at the 16th annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards. Brantley -- nominated for Pro Athlete of the Year -- said he plans on getting back on the field for the Tribe as soon as possible, without cutting any corners in his rehab.

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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.