Tito lauds front office for landing Edwin

Manager excited for camp, but calls it 'bittersweet' to bid farewell to Napoli

Tito lauds front office for landing Edwin

BOSTON -- If the baseball world was a little surprised by the Indians landing the big bat of Edwin Encarnacion, manager Terry Francona has come to expect the unexpected from his resourceful front office.

Fresh off getting to Game 7 of the World Series, in which his team suffered a gut-wrenching loss to the Cubs, Francona looks forward to getting acquainted with his new slugger in Spring Training.

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Ian Browne has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bradley No. 4 on Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

Dodgers' Bellinger ranks first, Pirates' Bell, Mets' Smith follow once again

Bradley No. 4 on Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

No position in the big leagues places a greater premium on power than first base, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that MLBPipeline's list of the Top 10 first-base prospects is loaded with sluggers. Four of them have plus pop, led by Cody Bellinger's 65 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale, and the rest all have average or better power. Meanwhile, the top four first basemen all ranked among the top six a year ago, while Bellinger and Casey Gillaspie leaped into the top half of the list.

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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.

Tribe Fest sold out; autograph session tickets remain

Fan event will take place Jan. 28 at InterContinental Hotel

Tribe Fest sold out; autograph session tickets remain

CLEVELAND -- Pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training for the Indians less than a month from now, renewing the team's quest to win a World Series crown. Before the players head to Arizona, they will make a stop in Cleveland for the team's annual Tribe Fest.

On Thursday, the Indians announced that their signature offseason event is sold out of general admission tickets. Fans who did secure tickets to Tribe Fest, which will take place on Jan. 28 at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland, can still obtain tickets for autograph sessions.

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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.

Five Tribe games slated for national TV

April 3 Opening Day game against Rangers on ESPN

CLEVELAND -- A nationwide audience got to know the Indians better throughout the team's memorable October run to the World Series last fall. That trend will continue for the reigning American League champions this season, when at least five of the team's games will be broadcast nationally.

On Thursday, Cleveland unveiled its start times and broadcast schedule for the 2017 season, in which the Indians enter as heavy favorites to contend for a second straight AL Central crown and a return trip to the Fall Classic. In addition to the April 3 Opening Day clash with the Rangers, the Indians will have a handful of games aired by FOX and ESPN.

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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.

Manny falls well short in Hall of Fame voting

Manny falls well short in Hall of Fame voting

CLEVELAND -- The Manny being Manny phenomenon took off in Boston, but Manny Ramirez began to carve his place in baseball history in Cleveland. His was a unique and remarkable career, and there was a point in time when Ramirez seemed like a lock for the hallowed halls in Cooperstown, N.Y.

There is no denying that Ramirez was one of the most fearsome hitters of his era and one of the best right-handed sluggers the game has seen. In light of Wednesday's voting results for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, however, it seems clear that the controversy surrounding the end of Ramirez's career currently overshadows the impressive statistics he piled up over 19 years in the Majors.

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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

Jim Callis

Mejia named No. 2 catching prospect in MLB

Converted infielder Kelly, Mejia grab top spots, Alfaro remains No. 3

Mejia named No. 2 catching prospect in MLB

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Heading into 2016, MLBPipeline's two top-rated catching prospects were Willson Contreras and Gary Sanchez. You may have heard something about their exploits last year. Contreras took over the starting job on a Cubs team that won its first World Series in 108 years, while Sanchez tied an 86-year-old record for fewest games needed (51) to hit 20 homers.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe elated to sign Guyer to 2-year deal

A key cog in Series run, corner outfielder will earn $5M guaranteed

Tribe elated to sign Guyer to 2-year deal

CLEVELAND -- Brandon Guyer came close to becoming forever linked to Indians lore. In the decisive game against the Cubs in the World Series, the outfielder came off the bench and turned in the kind of performance that had him set up to be a hero amongst Tribe fans for years to come.

The Indians showed their appreciation for Guyer's skillset on Wednesday, announcing that they have signed the outfielder to a two-year extension that includes a team option for the 2019 campaign. The deal is worth $5 million guaranteed.

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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.

Tremie highlights player development staff

Triple-A manager returns for 5th season; 4 affiliates get new skippers

Tremie highlights player development staff

CLEVELAND -- The state of the Indians' farm system has continued to improve in recent seasons, providing a solid pipeline for the American League-champion Tribe. Both via the Draft and trades, Cleveland's player development system has done its part to strengthen the Major League club.

On Tuesday, the Indians announced their 2017 staffing for their player development department, which includes some changes to the farm system's managerial structure. Chris Tremie will return for his fifth season as the manager for Triple-A Columbus, but four affiliates will have new managers for the upcoming 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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Approaching Majors, Zimmer eyes family matchup

Indians' top prospect could soon face older brother Kyle, a Royals prospect

Approaching Majors, Zimmer eyes family matchup

CLEVELAND -- Brad and Kyle Zimmer have talked about it plenty of times. Someday, and perhaps not too far off in the future, the brothers might get to face each other in the Majors. Brad is a fast-rising outfield prospect in the Indians' system, while Kyle is working his way up the Royals' organizational ladder.

If the stars align just right -- with Brad forcing Cleveland's hand and Kyle having a strong comeback from surgery last summer to address thoracic outlet syndrome -- the brothers could clash as American League Central rivals at some point in 2017. It might be more likely that the Zimmer boys will realize their childhood dream in '18. No matter when that moment arrives, Brad has an idea of how his older brother will pitch him.

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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 avoids arbitration with five players

Tribe avoids arbitration with five players

CLEVELAND -- With a depleted pitching staff down the stretch and in the postseason, the Indians relied heavily on their bullpen. Cleveland will do so again this year -- and with a relief corps that will cost more than the team's talented starting rotation.

On Friday, the Indians avoided arbitration with five more players, including closer Cody Allen, setup man Bryan Shaw and reliever Zach McAllister. The signings followed a one-year settlement with reliever Dan Otero on Thursday night. Those four arms will team with relief ace Andrew Miller to form the backbone of the Tribe's stalwart 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.

Indians add Delabar, Banwart to spring camp

Indians add Delabar, Banwart to spring camp

CLEVELAND -- The Indians added a pair of arms to the Spring Training mix on Friday, signing right-handers Steve Delabar and Travis Banwart to Minor League contracts that include invitations to attend camp with the Major League club.

Indians pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training at the team's headquarters in Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 12, with the first workout slated for Feb. 14. Delabar and Banwart represent the first pitchers added to the spring fold as non-roster players. Cleveland currently has seven non-roster invitees, along with its 40-man 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.

Merritt sent fans thank you notes for wedding gifts

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Merritt sent fans thank you notes for wedding gifts

Ryan Merritt may have been the unlikeliest hero from the 2016 postseason, pitching the Indians into the World Series with his two-hit start in Game 5 of the ALCS. He may have cemented himself into Indians lore as a 24-year-old rookie. But still, when total strangers buy you dozen of gifts from your wedding registry, it's only polite to say thanks.

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Encarnacion in for annual Tribe Fest

New Indians slugger among confirmed attendees for event on Jan. 28

Encarnacion in for annual Tribe Fest

CLEVELAND -- The Indians added an impact bat to their offense with the signing of free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion. The first baseman has also joined the planned lineup for Tribe Fest later this month.

On Thursday, Cleveland announced that Encarnacion is confirmed for attending the team's annual Tribe Fest, which will take place on Jan. 28 at the InterContinental Hotel near the Cleveland Clinic campus. The club also announced that the afternoon session for the fan fest is sold out, and tickets for the morning session are going fast.

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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.

Edwin's deal, arb-eligibles boost Tribe payroll

Club optimistic it will settle with players before deadline to exchange numbers

Edwin's deal, arb-eligibles boost Tribe payroll

CLEVELAND -- Signing a free agent of Edwin Encarnacion's caliber did not appear realistic for the Indians when the offseason began. Even with some added revenue from the Tribe's run to the World Series, the kind of contract required typically exceeds Cleveland's financial reach, making it seem like an improbable pairing.

With a roster built to not only contend right now, but for the next few years, the Indians' ownership opted to step outside its comfort zone in an effort to seize the franchise's momentum. The signing of Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million deal marked the largest free-agent deal in club history, increased the Tribe's payroll dramatically, and served as a statement that Cleveland will put its foot on the accelerator in an opportunistic environment.

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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 announce spring broadcast schedule

Club will have two televised games vs. World Series champion Cubs

CLEVELAND -- A little more than one month remains until the Indians officially renew their quest for World Series glory. When Spring Training does arrive, Cleveland will see the World Series champion Cubs twice within its Cactus League slate, with both games scheduled to be televised.

On Tuesday, the Indians announced their TV and radio plans for the spring, noting that eight games are set to air on SportsTime Ohio as part of the preseason coverage. That includes the American League champion Tribe's tilts on the road against the Cubs on Feb. 26 and at home at Goodyear Ballpark on March 27.

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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 could promote prospect Zimmer in 2017

Tribe could promote prospect Zimmer in 2017

CLEVELAND -- The Indians made one of the boldest moves of the offseason with the free-agent signing of slugger Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million contract that has the club flirting with a $130 million payroll.

Cleveland's financial resources appear to be tapped out for major additions, but the team could still use help for the outfield. Maybe that will lend itself to this bold prediction: Top prospect Bradley Zimmer will make 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.

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs. 

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Big leagues on horizon for Tribe prospect Diaz

Big leagues on horizon for Tribe prospect Diaz

CLEVELAND -- There was a point last year when Yandy Diaz nearly got the call to Cleveland. With one vacancy on the roster and a month to play in the regular season, the Indians were discussing whether to add the prospect for the push to the playoffs.

When the Aug. 31 deadline to add players for postseason eligibility arrived, the Tribe opted instead to trade for veteran A's outfielder Coco Crisp. Diaz's time had not come, but the fact that he was being considered was a testament to the progress he made this past season. It was also an early indication that Cleveland will be taking a long, hard look at the versatile Diaz as it constructs its 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.

Former Indians pitcher Brown dies at 73

'Oklahoma Curveballer' played for Senators, Rangers, Indians and Expos

Former Indians pitcher Brown dies at 73

ARLINGTON -- Former Rangers pitcher Jackie Brown, who was known as the "Oklahoma Curveballer" and later became a Major League pitching coach for three organizations, has passed away after a long illness. He was 73.

Brown pitched for the Washington Senators in 1970-71, the Rangers in '73-'75, the Indians in '75-'76 and the Expos in '77. He had a career record of 47-53 with a 4.18 ERA in 214 games, including 105 starts.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians view Edwin as more than power hitter

Club believes slugger's consistency will continue as he turns 34

Indians view Edwin as more than power hitter

CLEVELAND -- Edwin Encarnacion is a rare breed of power hitter. Not only can the newest member of the Indians launch home runs at a high rate, but he has also shown the ability to control the strike zone well enough to avoid the feast-or-famine streaks that often plague sluggers.

It is Encarnacion's style of hitting -- combined with his power potential -- that helped convince the Tribe to hand the first baseman a three-year, $60 million contract on Thursday. There is always risk involved with a lucrative deal, but this includes an extra layer. On Saturday, Encarnacion turns 34 years old, meaning the Indians are gambling that his approach can overcome his age.

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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

Terence Moore

Tribe looks to follow in footsteps of KC, Cubs

Tribe looks to follow in footsteps of KC, Cubs

They were so close. The Indians moved within a pitch, a hit or a something last season of exorcising all of their ghosts from the distant and recent past, but they lost the World Series.

Still, there is hope for those in Tribe Nation that their guys will finish the job this time around. And, yes, they acquired Edwin Encarnacion, among the game's most dynamic sluggers, but here's the other thing: Three years ago, after the Royals fell just short of winning it all, they didn't feel sorry for themselves. They ended the next season with a World Series championship.

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

Edwin: Indians have 'best chance' to win WS

New Cleveland slugger unveiled at press conference Thursday

Edwin: Indians have 'best chance' to win WS

CLEVELAND -- It is being described as the perfect fit. The Indians craved right-handed power, and Edwin Encarnacion offered that in surplus. Encarnacion wants to win, and he watched Cleveland take down his former Blue Jays last October to clinch a spot in the World Series.

On Thursday, Encarnacion officially joined the Tribe on a three-year contract. Standing in front of his new locker at Progressive Field, he donned a white Indians jersey, pulled on a Cleveland cap, smiled wide and raised both arms in celebration. The uniform fit just fine, and Encarnacion's bat will fit perfectly into the heart of Cleveland's lineup as the club attempts to defend its American League crown.

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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's return key to Cleveland's '17 outfield

Brantley's return key to Cleveland's '17 outfield

CLEVELAND -- The Indians' roster is formidable with the addition of free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, but it is not without question marks. The outfield currently contains the most uncertainty, though Cleveland believes it can remedy the situation with the options already in hand.

The signing of Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million contract on Thursday likely brings an end to any lucrative free-agent additions for the Tribe. That means that Cleveland is counting heavily on a healthy return from left fielder Michael Brantley, who missed the bulk of last season due to right shoulder and biceps woes. Now, the Indians are in wait-and-see mode when it comes to Brantley's status.

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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

Castro: Tribe hoping for huge return on EE investment

Castro: Tribe hoping for huge return on EE investment

CLEVELAND -- The term Indians team president Chris Antonetti used to describe the $60 million investment that the ownership made in Edwin Encarnacion was "leap of faith." Perhaps, because this press conference was almost immediately followed by another -- the one announcing that Billy Joel will be playing Progressive Field this summer -- "A Matter of Trust" would have been more apt.

Anyway, you get the idea. In adding Encarnacion to an American League pennant-winning roster, the Indians are hoping for a level of fan engagement and are financially extending themselves in a way that hasn't happened in decades. One night of Billy Joel throwing on a suit and banging on the piano keys is bound to put people in the seats. But the local nine has had a much more difficult time getting that kind of love night after night.

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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.

Cuyahoga River of Dreams: Joel to play Progressive Field

Cuyahoga River of Dreams: Joel to play Progressive Field

CLEVELAND -- Larry Doby Jr. was once tasked with the job of helping rock legend Billy Joel warm up for a show. The son of the Indians great put on a baseball glove and the two played catch, preparing Joel for a ceremonial first pitch in front of Tribe fans at Progressive Field.

A decade later, Doby Jr.'s ties to the organization -- his dad broke the American League color barrier in 1947 with the Indians and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame -- have helped bring a Billy Joel concert to the Indians' home ballpark. The team announced on Thursday that Joel will play at Progressive Field at 8 p.m. ET on July 14.

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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.

Inbox: What's OF look like without Rajai?

Beat reporter Jordan Bastian answers questions from Indians fans

Inbox: What's OF look like without Rajai?

Regardless of Rajai Davis' value as a hitter and fielder, he obviously played a huge role in the Indians' run with his baserunning and stealing. Without Davis, what are the Indians' options?
-- Austin M.

Davis played a key role for the Indians last season, especially with the running game. There is the obvious: Davis led the American League with 43 steals and a 10.0 BsR (min. 450 plate appearances). The veteran also helped youngsters like Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez embrace aggressiveness on the basepaths, too. And, of course, Davis' game-tying homer in Game 7 of the World Series was one of the moments of the year in baseball.

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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

For Doby Jr., life and career to come full circle

Son of Indians legend to help turn Progressive Field into concert venue for Joel

For Doby Jr., life and career to come full circle

CLEVELAND -- Center field at the Indians' home park was once Larry Doby's domain, the place where the man who integrated the American League established himself as a seven-time All-Star and Hall of Famer.

But come July, it will be a different Doby out in center -- not breaking down a barrier, but setting up a stage.

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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.