Indians determined to improve in the field

After committing 116 errors in '14, defense has been major spring focus

Indians determined to improve in the field

In the days leading up to Opening Day, MLB.com is examining various aspects of each team's roster. Today, the time has come to focus on a key number for the upcoming season. For the Indians, it's 116: their Major League-leading error total last year.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There are only so many ways a team can alter Spring Training. Finding new methods for age-old workouts, routines and drills is not an easy task. This spring, that was the challenge for a Cleveland club that headed into camp with a high priority placed on cleaning up its defense.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carrasco thrilled to pair with Kluber at top of rotation

Indians' 28-year-old right-hander delivered stellar second half in '14

Carrasco thrilled to pair with Kluber at top of rotation

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Down the stretch last season, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco gave the Indians one of baseball's most dominant duos. Cleveland will begin this year with that pair of right-handers once again in the first and second slots of the rotation.

Carrasco was back in camp with the Indians on Wednesday morning, following a trip to Florida to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, Emma Victoria. The brief hiatus from Spring Training will not alter the schedule for Carrasco, who is scheduled to make his final Cactus League start on Friday before prepping for his April 8 outing against the Astros.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moss' HR powers 4-run frame in win over Mariners

Moss' HR powers 4-run frame in win over Mariners

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Mariners ace Felix Hernandez labored in his final outing of the spring, bowing out before the end of the second inning in an 8-6 Cactus League loss to the Indians on Tuesday at Goodyear Ballpark. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon was ejected during the defeat.

The Indians, who featured the bulk of their projected Opening Day lineup, struck for seven runs on five hits against Hernandez in his 1 2/3 innings.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Healthy Kipnis ready to be straw that stirs Tribe's offense

After down year, second baseman shows signs of having positive impact in 2015

Healthy Kipnis ready to be straw that stirs Tribe's offense

In the days leading up to Opening Day, MLB.com is examining various aspects of each team's roster. Today, the time has come to focus on a key player for the upcoming season. For the Indians, that's second baseman Jason Kipnis.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona wants people to remember. Two years ago, Jason Kipnis was an offensive force for Cleveland, slashing pitches the opposite way for extra-base hits, piling up stolen bases and carrying a lineup that was searching for a leader.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe's new-look park big part of Opening Day festivities

Tribe's new-look park big part of Opening Day festivities

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians will honor their past, while ushering in a new era, during the home opener at Progressive Field next week.

The first American League Cy Young Award winner in Cleveland's history, Gaylord Perry, is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the 4:10 p.m. ET divisional clash with Detroit on April 10. Perry, who started five Opening Day games as a member of the Indians, won the annual honor in 1972.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bauer ready to see if spring success carries into season

Indians believe breakout year on tap for righty

Bauer ready to see if spring success carries into season

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the regular season only one week away, Indians manager Terry Francona is excited about a potential breakout year for starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.

Bauer has come on strong toward the end of Spring Training, even though his numbers don't tell the whole story. The right-hander has been pounding the strike zone and mixing in an improved two-seamer and splitter, all of which was a point of emphasis coming into camp.

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

Q&A: Francona assesses Tribe on the eve of the season

Skipper discusses rotation, lineup, bullpen and club's youngsters

Q&A: Francona assesses Tribe on the eve of the season

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Opening Day looming, MLB.com caught up with Indians manager Terry Francona to discuss the potential of his starting rotation, key players for the Tribe's lineup, the importance of closely monitoring the bullpen's workload and young players who impressed in camp during the spring.

MLB.com: There's been a lot of talk about the starting rotation -- for good reason -- with Corey Kluber, the American League Cy Young winner, at the top, and Carlos Carrasco. What are your thoughts on the potential of this group and the depth that you have there?

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Megan Zahneis

Father-son bond leads to Brantley's success

Father-son bond leads to Brantley's success

Appropriately enough, father and son were together when the call came.

You can almost picture Michael Brantley's cell phone ringing and the 27-year-old fishing it out of his pocket.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Price argues against altering strike zone to benefit hitters

Price argues against altering strike zone to benefit hitters

What can be done to inject more offense into baseball? This has been a popular Spring Training topic in both Florida and Arizona, but it isn't particularly popular with pitchers, who like the direction of the game, which has been going distinctly toward their dominance.

One of the best conversations I heard on this topic was with Bryan Price, a thoughtful man who manages the Cincinnati Reds. Price was a Minor League pitcher, and then a pitching coach with the Mariners, the D-backs and the Reds before taking his current position. That personal history is clearly reflected in his comments, but that doesn't make his position any less valid.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe backs Bauer with trio of home runs

Right-hander fans 7 over 6 1/3; Zimmer, Hayes and Sands go deep

Tribe backs Bauer with trio of home runs

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cactus League contest between the Indians and White Sox on Monday at Camelback Ranch featured a battle of long balls. Jerry Sands' leadoff homer in the eighth helped the Indians secure a 4-1 victory.

Cleveland grabbed the lead in the fourth on back-to-back shots off of White Sox starter Hector Noesi. Center fielder Bradley Zimmer went deep for the first time this spring, with two outs and Carlos Santana on base, followed by catcher Brett Hayes' blast to left.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holt optioned; final roster spot down to three

Adams, Martinez and Aguilar remain in the mix

Holt optioned; final roster spot down to three

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians moved closer to completing their Opening Day roster on Monday, as the club optioned outfielder Tyler Holt to Triple-A Columbus and informed outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands that he would not make the club.

The competition for the final roster spot is down to right-hander Austin Adams, non-roster infielder Michael Martinez and first baseman Jesus Aguilar, said Indians manager Terry Francona.

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

Indians read mean tweets about themselves

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Indians read mean tweets about themselves

This week, the Indians scrolled through their Twitter mentions and shared the most, uh, unique tweets with us.Like this friendly suggestion for Jason Kipnis, to which he had the perfect response. 

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House, McAllister earn rotation spots as Indians cull roster

Swarzak secures bullpen job, while Tomlin, Manship head to Triple-A

House, McAllister earn rotation spots as Indians cull roster

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians finalized their rotation Sunday, naming TJ House and Zach McAllister their Nos. 4 and 5 starters.

The right-handed McAllister will start the home opener against the Tigers on April 10 and the left-handed House will take the ball in the series finale April 12. House and McAllister join Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer in a rotation likely to evolve throughout the season.

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

House goes six, but struggles in three-run fourth inning

Kipnis scores Tribe's only run on throwing error by White Sox

House goes six, but struggles in three-run fourth inning

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Micah Johnson and Tyler Flowers had two hits each, and George Kottaras had a two-run double as the White Sox beat the Indians, 4-1, Sunday at Goodyear Ballpark.

Scott Carroll gave up one unearned run in three innings, and David Robertson, Arcenio Leon and Jace Fry combined for six scoreless innings out of the Chicago bullpen.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Tito trusts young arms in Indians' rotation

AL Cy Young winner Kluber only pitcher in starting five with 200-inning season

Tito trusts young arms in Indians' rotation

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Every good starting pitcher grows up some time. He might be 22 and hitting the ground running, 25 and well prepared after a step-by-step climb through the Minor Leagues or 28 and ready to prove an organization or two wrong.

No matter how long it takes, the goal is to reach the point where he is ready to throw 200-plus innings on a contending team. The Indians hope that they have assembled that kind of rotation behind American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. But, at this point, all the Indians are doing is believing and hoping because they haven't yet seen a strong, complete Major League season from Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar, Zach McAllister or TJ House.

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

McAllister mows down 9, Kipnis goes deep in win over Crew

Indians righty among 3 pitchers vying for 2 rotation spots

McAllister mows down 9, Kipnis goes deep in win over Crew

PHOENIX -- Jason Kipnis homered for Cleveland and Ryan Braun drove in two runs for Milwaukee as the Indians defeated the Brewers, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Zach McAllister had a solid start for the Indians as he continued to make a push for one of the two open spots in the rotation. The right-hander struck out nine over five innings and was charged with two runs on six hits.

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

Allen in 'perfect spot' for Opening Day after new spring routine

Indians closer has taken slower approach in increasing intensity

Allen in 'perfect spot' for Opening Day after new spring routine

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians closer Cody Allen has not typically needed many Spring Training innings to find the kind of rhythm he prefers for the regular season. The only problem is that the young pitcher has reached that level of readiness too early in camp in previous years.

This spring, Cleveland changed Allen's throwing routine, mixing in Minor League appearances between his Cactus League innings in order to reduce the intensity of the outings. Allen has liked the change and thinks it has helped him build up his personal momentum at a more gradual pace.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'A good first step': Swisher tests legs in Minor League game

Indians outfielder expected to start season on DL

'A good first step': Swisher tests legs in Minor League game

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians veteran Nick Swisher took another step forward in his comeback from double-knee surgery, increasing the intensity of his running in a Minor League game on Friday.

After resting on Thursday due to what Indians manager Terry Francona described as general leg fatigue, Swisher got a hit and pushed himself on the bases in Friday's game action. Swisher was scheduled to go through a workout with the Tribe on Sunday.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carrasco leaves Indians camp for birth of fourth child

Starter's absence could delay announcement of rotation order

Carrasco leaves Indians camp for birth of fourth child

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians' pitching schedule had been aligned for right-hander Carlos Carrasco to slot into the second spot of the Opening Day rotation behind ace Corey Kluber. Carrasco's place within the rotation order is now a bit of an unknown.

On Saturday, Carrasco was scheduled to leave the team in order to fly home to Florida to be with his wife for the birth of his fourth child. Indians manager Terry Francona said Carrasco -- originally slated to start against the White Sox on Sunday -- will likely be away from the ballclub for a few days.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brantley has look-alike in MSU player Travis Trice

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Brantley has look-alike in MSU player Travis Trice

Look at Michael Brantley. Now look at Michigan State guard Travis Trice. You can't deny there's a certain resemblance. But since Brantley was born in 1987 and Trice was born in 1993, I'm not suggesting they're identical twins with amazing athletic abilities who regularly switch places to confound and delight spectators.

However, I have seen "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Black Mirror," so I am suggesting that maybe Brantley grew Trice in a bathtub.

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Kluber pushes pitch count vs. D-backs to gain strength

Indians' Opening Day starter gives up one run in six innings

Kluber pushes pitch count vs. D-backs to gain strength

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In a game befitting a matchup of a pair of Opening Day starters, the Indians and D-backs played a low-scoring game with Arizona winning 3-2 at Salt River Fields.

The D-backs scored twice in the bottom of the eighth on a Jake Lamb double that plated Tom Belza and a Blake Lalli sacrifice fly that scored David Peralta to take a lead that would stand.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McAllister's versatility gives Francona options

McAllister's versatility gives Francona options

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians made it known early in camp that right-hander Zach McAllister would be on the Opening Day pitching staff in some capacity. Cleveland has yet to reveal whether it will be as a starter or reliever.

"The big thing is the guy's pitching well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Zach looks to me like he could probably do both right now, which is comforting."

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe options Salazar; rotation competition shrinks

Right-hander sent down after struggling with consistency this spring

Tribe options Salazar; rotation competition shrinks

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Throughout his young career, Danny Salazar has consistently overpowered hitters and teased the Indians with the kind of potential that makes him look like a future ace.

On Friday, Cleveland made it clear that Salazar still has room for growth, optioning the hard-throwing starter to Triple-A Columbus. The move comes one day after Salazar imploded in a Cactus League start against the Reds.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brantley heeds dad's advice, eyes opposite-field power

Brantley heeds dad's advice, eyes opposite-field power

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Before Michael Brantley leaves for Spring Training each year, his dad offers a suggestion for the upcoming season. Mickey Brantley is a former big league outfielder and hitting coach, so the Indians' left fielder always takes the advice to heart.

What did Mickey Brantley have in mind for this season?

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians hope time at Triple-A will help reliever Lee

Top prospect Lindor also re-assigned

Indians hope time at Triple-A will help reliever Lee

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona is holding out faith that right-hander C.C. Lee will someday develop into a fixture within the Tribe's bullpen. It became clear to Cleveland's staff this spring that Lee still has room to grow before returning to the big leagues.

On Thursday, Lee was optioned to Triple-A Columbus as part of the latest round of roster reductions for the ballclub. The Indians also re-assigned top prospect Francisco Lindor to Minor League camp, along with infielder Audy Ciriaco, outfielder Destin Hood, righty Dustin Molleken, catcher Adam Moore, righty Bryan Price and lefty Michael Roth.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Salazar roughed up in lopsided loss to Reds

Cleveland rotation candidate's ERA rises to 8.18

Salazar roughed up in lopsided loss to Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco each belted a home run for the Reds on Thursday, capitalizing on a rough day on the mound for Indians starter Danny Salazar in a 13-2 victory over Cleveland at Goodyear Ballpark. Cincinnati had 19 hits in the game, with all 12 of its hitters collecting at least one hit.

Frazier and Mesoraco homered in the first and second inning, respectively, helping Cincinnati to an early, 5-1, lead in Salazar's latest audition for a spot in Cleveland's rotation. Joey Votto (three RBIs) and Billy Hamilton (two hits, one RBI) also helped lead the Reds' early offense.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Aviles pranks Ramirez by parking car on field

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Aviles pranks Ramirez by parking car on field

It was a typical day at the Indians' spring complex on Thursday morning. The sun was shining. Palm trees swayed in the breeze. And Jose Ramirez's car was parked on the infield at shortstop on Field 1 at Cleveland's practice facility.

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Indians top prospect Lindor sent down after great camp

Shortstop, ranked No. 4 among all farmhands, will start year at Triple-A

Indians top prospect Lindor sent down after great camp

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When Indians manager Terry Francona met with Francisco Lindor early in Spring Training, it was made crystal clear to the shortstop prospect that he would not be breaking camp with the Major League club. Lindor would start the season with Triple-A Columbus.

"I didn't say 'probably,'" Francona said.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.