Carrasco's return highlights Indians' victory

Carrasco's return highlights Indians' victory

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the Indians, the most important moment of Monday's game against the Rangers arrived with the first pitch. It signaled the official return of Carlos Carrasco, who was forced to serve as a spectator throughout Cleveland's run to the World Series last fall.

In a 3-2 win over Texas, Carrasco worked two innings, fired all his pitches and came away feeling ready for the heavy workload that the Indians have planned for him this spring. That is great news for a pitcher whose season ended on Sept. 17 last year due to an Ian Kinsler line drive that fractured his right hand.

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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.

Brantley hits milestone with first BP session

Brantley hits milestone with first BP session

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley took his spot in the batting cage on Monday morning and showed off a swing that is more than familiar to Indians fans. After each ball that he put in play on Field 3 at the Tribe's training complex, the outfielder kept his head down.

If any baseballs hit by Brantley cleared the fence in his first on-field batting practice session of the spring, he didn't know about it.

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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.

No mistaking it: Tribe's Yandy is dandy

Prospect has impressed Francona early in camp

No mistaking it: Tribe's Yandy is dandy

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Yandy Diaz is not expected to be in the Indians' Opening Day plans, but the team does plan on taking a close look at the intriguing prospect this spring.

For Monday's Cactus League game against Texas, the versatile Diaz made his preseason debut in left field. He went 0-for-1 with two walks in the Indians' 3-2 win over the Rangers.

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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 shines in Series rematch

Cubs, Tribe downplay 'Game 8' draw

Salazar shines in Series rematch

MESA, Ariz. -- There was no rain-delay rally on Sunday as the Cubs and Indians played to a 1-1 tie in their first meeting since Game 7 of the World Series.

Some of the Cubs players jokingly called Sunday's meeting "Game 8." Cubs manager Joe Maddon downplayed any significance of the rematch.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe players gear up on Glove Day

Tribe players gear up on Glove Day

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Carrasco pounded his right fist into his new red-and-blue glove on Sunday morning, with a row of black Wilson bags sitting outside the Indians' complex. The pitcher smiled when asked how he planned on breaking in his new piece of leather.

"I just put it in the microwave for a little bit," Carrasco said. "The microwave gets it soft."

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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 scratched with mild shoulder strain

Kipnis scratched with mild shoulder strain

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jason Kipnis tried to play the villain against his hometown Cubs in the World Series last fall. If the Indians' second baseman is going to do so again this year, it will have to come a little later in the schedule.

On Sunday, Kipnis was scratched from the lineup for Cleveland's Cactus League clash with Chicago due to a mild rotator cuff strain. Tribe manager Terry Francona noted that Kipnis underwent an MRI exam and was given a cortisone shot after reporting to the team that he felt discomfort while throwing during Saturday's workout.

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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

Richard Justice

Indians looking to finish the job in 2017

Indians looking to finish the job in 2017

GOODYEAR, Ariz.-- Maybe the Cleveland Indians will end up being exactly what the Kansas City Royals were two years ago.

Remember? The Royals showed up at Spring Training in 2015 smarting from losing an wildly entertaining World Series, and they were driven to go back and write a different ending. Nine months later, they were hoisting a World Series trophy of their own.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Edwin gets 2 hits, RBI in spring debut vs. Reds

Edwin gets 2 hits, RBI in spring debut vs. Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It didn't take long for Edwin Encarnacion to look comfortable in an Indians uniform. The sound of his powerful swing made that clear on Saturday afternoon, when Cleveland's new slugger delivered the club's first run of the spring season.

In the first inning of the Indians' 8-2 Cactus League win against the Reds, Encarnacion drilled a pitch from Reds left-hander Amir Garrett into left field for an RBI single. Encarnacion stood on first base amidst cheers from the Goodyear Ballpark crowd, which was dotted with Tribe jerseys. It was an early look into why the Indians invested heavily into Encarnacion this winter.

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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.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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

Miller tosses scoreless frame in spring debut

Left-hander is set to leave camp soon for World Baseball Classic

Miller tosses scoreless frame in spring debut

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona threw convention out the window in his handling of relief ace Andrew Miller in the postseason last year. If it made the most sense to hand the ball to Miller as early as the fifth inning, Francona did not hesitate to summon him.

During Saturday's 8-2 victory over the Reds, Miller took the mound at Goodyear Ballpark in the fourth inning for his Cactus League debut. No, this was not another example of Francona pushing the boundaries of bullpen usage. That just happened to be the left-hander's scheduled inning after a pair of starters got their work in during the first three frames.

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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.

Indians-Reds interrupted by a quick sprinkler break

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Indians-Reds interrupted by a quick sprinkler break

Spring Training is a time to shake the rust off and get back in the swing of things after months away from the diamond. This is true for the players, yes, but also for everybody else -- like, say, grounds crews. 

Case in point: Saturday's Reds-Indians game, which was headed to the bottom of the eighth inning when, well ...

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Indians' Bradley Zimmer homered in front of grandma

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Indians' Bradley Zimmer homered in front of grandma

The Indians already boast a rather potent offense, but reinforcements are on the way nonetheless: outfielder Bradley Zimmer, considered the club's No. 1 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, could have an impact sooner rather than later.

"Sooner" might as well have been "Saturday," judging by the display Zimmer put on in Cleveland's Spring Training opener against the Reds. 

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'Dr. Smooth is back,' but still on a short leash

Brantley looks sharp during rehab BP; Indians remain cautious

'Dr. Smooth is back,' but still on a short leash

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The repeated sound of baseballs meeting bats is a part of the Spring Training environment each morning. In the early hours of the Indians' workout on Friday, the cacophony coming from the indoor batting cage at Cleveland's complex came with increased signficance.

Inside the batting tunnel stood Michael Brantley, who took a series of normal batting practice swings and sprayed baseballs to the back of the black netting. One of the Tribe's athletic trainers looked on, as did hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo. After the hitting session, Van Burkleo cracked a smile when asked how Brantley's swing looked.

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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.

Lefty Logan strives to bring balance to bullpen

Lefty Logan strives to bring balance to bullpen

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Boone Logan was openly pulling for the Indians when he watched the World Series last fall.

Over the past three years with the Rockies, Logan grew to dislike the Cubs. The veteran left-hander said he has nothing against Chicago as a city. He added that he does not have any issues with any individual Cubs players, either. The distaste for the Cubs has nothing to do with the team's history or ballpark. Logan laughed as he tried to find an answer for something he decided lacks a concrete explanation.

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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 enters camp with clean slate

Outfielder pleased with how Indians handled 2016 suspension

Almonte enters camp with clean slate

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Abraham Almonte was on the edge of his seat during Game 7 of the World Series. That seat was in the stands at Progressive Field, where the Indians outfielder was among the fans. Almonte was the only member of the Cleveland crowd who was pulling for teammates, not just players.

Ineligibility for the postseason was part of the price Almonte paid for the suspension he received last spring for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. When Almonte had his one-on-one meeting at the outset of Spring Training this year, Indians manager Terry Francona made it clear that the outfielder arrived at camp with his record wiped clean in the eyes of 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.

Lindor shows off 'pancake' glove

Gold Glove winner says practice mitt helps fielding focus, footwork

Lindor shows off 'pancake' glove

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Francisco Lindor has been heading out to the practice diamonds with a pair of gloves every morning at Indians camp this spring. In doing so, he has provided a glimpse into why the young shortstop captured both a Gold Glove and Platinum Glove for his defensive work last season.

Lindor takes his normal shortstop glove, but also carries a thinner training glove with him for taking ground balls. The flat glove -- also known as a pancake glove -- has no pocket, forcing Lindor to concentrate on a few things as the ball skips his way. He is focusing mostly on his footwork, but also on keeping his sights on the baseball until it meets his hands.

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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.

Indians boast two catchers capable of starting

Team's pitching staff has a good rapport with both Gomes, Perez

Indians boast two catchers capable of starting

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians feel fortunate to have a pair of catchers who are both capable of serving as a starting option in the big leagues. Given that situation, Roberto Perez will be considered the backup to Yan Gomes only in title. Perez will see his fair share of time behind the plate this season.

"We value Roberto a lot, and we're not going to let him sit," Indians manager Terry Francona said Thursday. "So you'll see him play earlier than maybe he has in the past, or something like that. We won't be as cautious in pinch-running, because we know we have a very good defensive catcher, whichever one we go to. Things like that."

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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

Bill Ladson

Francona's health will determine how long he manages Tribe

Francona's health will determine how long he manages Tribe

PHOENIX -- In four years at the helm, manager Terry Francona has guided the Indians to two postseason appearances and one American League pennant. Based on what they have on their current roster, the Indians are expected to go deep in the postseason again this October.

Francona, 57, has entered his 17th season as a manager. When asked if he might have at least 15 more years in the tank, Francona wasn't so sure.

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Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and does a podcast, Newsmakers. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana willing to play outfield again if needed

Tribe plans to keep veteran at first base and DH

Santana willing to play outfield again if needed

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Santana has shown an increased willingness to do whatever Indians manager Terry Francona asks of him. That included starting in left field for a pair of games in last year's World Series, due to not having the designated hitter available in Wrigley Field.

This spring, Santana has let Francona know he is still willing to play the outfield, if asked.

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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.

Francona fine with rule change for intentional walks

Francona fine with rule change for intentional walks

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona is fine with holding up four fingers, rather than watching four pitches. If MLB opts to allow managers to signal for an intentional walk without requiring the pitcher to throw four balls, count Francona among the supporters of the rule change.

"I'm OK with it. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal," Francona said on Wednesday. "If you're going to dig your heels in over something, I'm not sure this would be it for me."

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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.

Breaking down the Indians' Top 30 Prospects

Cleveland expects to get plenty of help from farmhands in 2017

Breaking down the Indians' Top 30 Prospects

The Indians came within one win of ending the franchise's 68-year World Series drought in 2016, ultimately falling to the Cubs in extra innings in Game 7 of the Fall Classic.

But while their season may have ended in disappointment, it was still a banner season for the Tribe, which won 94 games, the second most in the American League, en route to its first division title since 2007 and the team's first pennant since 1997.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Indians out to end MLB's longest World Series drought

Cleveland hasn't won Fall Classic since '48; 8 of 14 expansion clubs yet to win

Indians out to end MLB's longest World Series drought

On the visiting side at Progressive Field last Nov. 2, the Cubs celebrated the end of a 107-season World Series championship drought, the longest in Major League history.

On the home side, meanwhile, a reality sank in. For all the Indians had accomplished -- winning an American League pennant and pushing the World Series into extra innings in Game 7 -- the Tribe inherited the distinction of having the longest active World Series championship drought -- a 68-year spell without a season-ending celebration.

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Tracy Ringolsby is columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brantley optimistic about recovery process

Indians outfield plans on hold with uncertainty of former All-Star

Brantley optimistic about recovery process

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley is not just Jason Kipnis' teammate, but one of his closest friends. Publicly, Brantley is a master at concealing his emotions and putting a positive face on a comeback that has spanned 18 months. Kipnis has seen Brantley behind the scenes, and understands how difficult things have been for the outfielder.

This offseason, Brantley remained in Cleveland to focus on his rehab from the right biceps tenodesis surgery he underwent in August. In December, after attending a wedding in Ohio, Kipnis made the drive to Progressive Field to spend some time with his friend.

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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.

Young prospects can learn from Naquin

Young prospects can learn from Naquin

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The message delivered to Tyler Naquin at the start of Spring Training a year ago was short and to the point. The Indians had vacancies in the outfield and the young center fielder had a great opportunity to seize one of the jobs with a strong performance in the preseason. Naquin did precisely that, too.

This spring, Indians manager Terry Francona did not give the same message to prospects Bradley Zimmer, Greg Allen and Yandy Diaz. Those three outfielders, while considered an important part of Cleveland's future, are in Major League camp solely to gain experience. Barring any unexpected developments, they will likely find themselves in the Minors to begin the 2017 campaign.

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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.

Guyer glad to platoon, play where, when needed

Guyer glad to platoon, play where, when needed

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Brandon Guyer believes he can be more than a platoon player, but he understands his role on the Indians' roster. Given his career track record against left-handed pitching, the outfielder will mostly be used as a weapon against southpaws in the upcoming season.

Spring: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

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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.

Antonetti: Indians 'thirst for more' in 2017

Antonetti: Indians 'thirst for more' in 2017

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Presidents' Day arriving in the early part of Spring Training, who better to combine the two than Chris Antonetti, the Indians president of baseball operations? MLB.com asked Antonetti to provide his main message to Indians fans going into the 2017 season, when the Tribe will aim for a return trip to the World Series. Here is what he had to say:

"We feel confident and excited about the opportunity in front of us, because we feel great about the group of guys that we have heading into the season. But, that confidence and excitement is balanced by humility and determination. We know that it's really hard to win at the Major League level. To be able to advance as far as we did last year, it was a really difficult path and we had to overcome a lot of obstacles. It was that determination, that day-to-day approach of finding a way to put in the work, to prepare to win each and every day no matter what obstacles were in front of us, it was that mindset served us so well last year. That's the type of mindset that we need to have heading into this year. When you read comments from Michael Brantley or Corey Kluber or Cody Allen and other players, you know their mindset is focused on that. That's a really good feeling, knowing our players share that focus.

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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.

Miller's first live BP draws respect from teammates

Miller's first live BP draws respect from teammates

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Brandon Guyer headed over to introduce himself to left-hander Andrew Miller last August. Both players had just been traded to the Indians, so Cleveland's new outfielder -- best known for his ability to hit left-handed pitching -- had a message for his new Tribe teammate.

Spring: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

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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.