Kipnis among candidates to be Tribe's No. 2 man

Francona has Swisher, Ramirez also in mix

Kipnis among candidates to be Tribe's No. 2 man

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When constructing a lineup, Indians manager Terry Francona likes to make things as difficult as possible for the opposition. If Francona can alternate left-handed and right-handed batters, it makes it that much harder for the other manager to make bullpen decisions late in games.

Right now, though, Francona is weighing whether it is worth it to use that approach for the top of his lineup. If Cleveland has Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley in the first three spots of the order, respectively, that will stack three lefty batters in a row. Francona is in the midst of considering the risk and reward of such a move.

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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.

All eyes on Urshela in first big league camp after breakout '14

Francona impressed with prospect's glovework at third base

All eyes on Urshela in first big league camp after breakout '14

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the first few days of full-squad workouts, Indians manager Terry Francona has spent a lot of time on a practice field with a group of players who might be headed to Triple-A Columbus. Among them has been highly touted third-base prospect Giovanny Urshela.

Urshela is one of Cleveland's rising stars within its farm system and the young third baseman is experiencing his first Major League Spring Training. Urshela was only recently cleared for a full range of activities after suffering a left knee injury in winter ball, so Francona has kept a close eye on the prospect.

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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.

Chisenhall seeks to improve consistency at plate

2014 was tale of two seasons for Indians' young third baseman

Chisenhall seeks to improve consistency at plate

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Lonnie Chisenhall had a photo created from the time his swing was the sweetest it has ever been. When the Indians third baseman hits a lull at the plate, he plans on using the still image of his swing to help him recall how he felt on his historic night in Texas last season.

Three home runs. Five hits. Nine RBIs.

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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.

Ex-Indians Hafner, McDonald report to camp as instructors

Francona says former players are encouraged to help on field, in cage

Ex-Indians Hafner, McDonald report to camp as instructors

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have almost all facets covered with this spring's class of guest instructors. John McDonald is working with the infielders, Travis Hafner has focused on the hitters, Charles Nagy helps with the pitching staff and Mike Hargrove contributes around the complex as well.

"The benefit is you're getting some really good baseball people that, for whatever reason, may not be able to commit to a full season," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Especially if they were in your organization, I think it's really good."

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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.

Overcoming elbow injuries, Floyd gets new start with Indians

Righty could land No. 2 spot in Tribe rotation after fracture followed Tommy John surgery

Overcoming elbow injuries, Floyd gets new start with Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As the pain intensified within Gavin Floyd's right arm in his final start last season, the pitcher looked to the heavens for help. Floyd was in the midst of a shutout against the Nationals, but felt he was potentially approaching a point of no return.

"I prayed to God," Floyd 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.

Francona disputes Brantley's below-average 'D' rating

Manager believes left fielder is one of best in league despite what stats say

Francona disputes Brantley's below-average 'D' rating

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley has seemingly mastered the unorthodox left-field corner at Progressive Field, and the Indians' All-Star left fielder was one of baseball's top threats with his arm last year. Still, advanced defensive metrics rate Brantley as a below-average defender.

Indians manager Terry Francona does not understand why the numbers do not favor Brantley's 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.

Progressive Field renovations continue despite weather

Majority of project on schedule to be completed by home opener

Progressive Field renovations continue despite weather

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Construction crews back in Cleveland continue to battle the elements in an effort to complete the ongoing Progressive Field renovation project in time for this season's home opener.

On Thursday, Indians team president Mark Shapiro arrived at the club's Spring Training complex and indicated that most of the massive undertaking at the ballpark remains on schedule for the April 10 opener against the Tigers. The freezing temperatures that the workers have dealt with over the past few weeks have only slowed progress in two areas.

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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.

New ticket offers give Indians fans unique opportunities

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Fans will not only see changes to Progressive Field when Opening Day arrives this year, but they will also have a couple of new ticket offers for the coming season.

On Thursday, the Indians announced two unique ticket opportunities: $13 District Tickets and $10 KeyBank Kids Tickets. The District Ticket comes with one free drink, and the Kids Ticket caters to families and allows for convenient access to the Kids Clubhouse and redesigned Family Deck.

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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

Bernie Pleskoff

Pleskoff: Indians prospects on the cusp

Pleskoff: Indians prospects on the cusp

In this series, Bernie Pleskoff takes a team-by-team look at which top prospects are poised to make a contribution at the big league level in 2015.

The Indians enter Spring Training hoping several highly regarded regulars return to form after injuries. The are counting on Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis to shake the injury bug and help lead the team to the next level.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians to employ more shifts to shore up defense

Indians to employ more shifts to shore up defense

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- At some point during a Cactus League game this spring, the Indians' infielders will likely move into a dramatic defensive shift. Cleveland may even test out the strategy with a batter in the box who is not typically faced with that kind of alignment.

During Wednesday's workout, Indians bench coach Brad Mills said the team plans on doing everything it can this spring to simulate shift situations and prepare for the unexpected. The idea behind it is to help players develop another layer of reactionary decision-making in real time.

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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 continues recovery from hip surgery, takes regular BP

Moss continues recovery from hip surgery, takes regular BP

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Brandon Moss watched as the baseball that rocketed off David Murphy's bat fell short of the wall in right-center field on one of the Indians' practice fields on Wednesday morning. Moss shook his head, grinned and turned to his good friend.

"You used to be stronger," Moss joked.

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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.

Francona eyes balance for busy bullpen

Francona eyes balance for busy bullpen

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Given their high appearance totals last year, the Indians will soon be mapping out the respective spring workloads of heavily-used relievers Cody Allen, Scott Atchison, Marc Rzepczynski and Bryan Shaw.

"We actually are in the process now," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "with the guys that pitched a lot, walking through how they would like to prepare for the season, because they're all so good about understanding what they need to accomplish."

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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.

Downs has 'youthful fire' in competition for bullpen role

Lefty in camp on first Minor League contract in 13-year career

Downs has 'youthful fire' in competition for bullpen role

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It has been a long time since job security was an issue for left-hander Scott Downs. For most of the past decade, he has headed into Spring Training with the luxury of a big league contract and a spot in the Opening Day bullpen.

Things are different this spring for Downs, who is in camp with Cleveland on a Minor League deal for the first time in his career. Downs wanted to pitch for Indians manager Terry Francona, and he liked the young talent that the Tribe boasts, but the lefty said it is the spring competition that has lit a youthful fire in him.

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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 pain-free and 'pumped' to be with Tribe

Moss pain-free and 'pumped' to be with Tribe

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Outfielder Brandon Moss knew something was wrong with his left hip long before his second-half tailspin began last season. During last spring, when he was with Oakland, Moss remarked to then-teammate Daric Barton that he might be in for a tough year.

"I said, 'I hope you have a really good year this year, so I can DH a good bit,'" Moss recalled, "'because if not, I'm probably going to have to have surgery.' I knew it. There was something wrong. At that point it was just stiff, and I couldn't move well."

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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 to Murphy: Prepare as you normally do

Tribe to Murphy: Prepare as you normally do

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- David Murphy might find himself on the Indians' Opening Day roster when everything is said and done, but the veteran outfielder's role has yet to be determined. Depending on the health of a few other players, Murphy could be the starting right fielder or an extra player on the bench.

Right now, the most important thing to Murphy is communication from Cleveland's staff.

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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.

Lindor outlasts competition in Tribe's endurance test

Lindor outlasts competition in Tribe's endurance test

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Francisco Lindor pushed through the pain, sprinted hard and dove through the line of orange cones to an eruption of cheers from his Indians teammates on Tuesday morning. It was only a performance test, but the shortstop prospect wanted badly to be the last player standing.

"Every time I do something that's a competition," said Lindor, recently rated the No. 4 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, "I'm trying to win."

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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.

Francona: 'More anxiety' about this year's message to Tribe

Francona: 'More anxiety' about this year's message to Tribe

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- To prepare for the first team meeting of Spring Training, Indians manager Terry Francona spent some time over the past few days jotting down his thoughts. When Francona got ready to walk into the clubhouse on Tuesday morning, he actually felt nervous.

"I probably had more anxiety about that this year than I ever have," Francona said. "It probably doesn't matter in the long run, but I wanted to try to say exactly how I felt. That's not the easiest thing always, and you only get one chance. You can't go back, so I had a lot of anxiety about it. I know how I feel, but I just care about this group so much that I wanted to do a good job."

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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 working to get handle on defense

Spring Training drills get tweaked to improve Majors-worst fielding

Indians working to get handle on defense

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- One of the Indians' top priorities this spring is to find methods for potentially improving what was baseball's worst defense last season. Cleveland's coaches and staff have brainstormed and developed ideas, but the team knows there will be no reinventing of the wheel.

Defensive drills are defensive drills, and there are only so many news ways a club can find to field ground balls. Indians third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh, who doubles as the team's infield instructor, believes it will be the team's collective mentality that can really make the difference.

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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.

Mental coaching helped Hagadone turn corner

Indians left-hander worked with team's performance coach last season

Mental coaching helped Hagadone turn corner

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nick Hagadone adjusted his mechanics some and began focusing on playing catch with more purpose last season, but the Indians left-hander credits something else for his career turnaround. For Hagadone, it was the mental side of baseball that was holding him back.

Hagadone began working with Ceci Clark, the Indians' performance coach, last year, and the left-hander believes that was the main source of his on-field success. The pitcher began learning how to tune out distractions on the mound, found ways to focus better on each pitch and felt that he remained "in the moment" more often than earlier in his career.

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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 hopes to keep rolling with 'daddy strength'

Second-generation big leaguer and father of three arrives at Indians camp

Brantley hopes to keep rolling with 'daddy strength'

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley enjoyed a breakout performance last season, developing into an offensive weapon for the Indians and finishing in third place in balloting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.

Throughout his breakout campaign, Brantley joked that "daddy strength" was the real reason for the additional pop he put on display for the Tribe. With a baby boy welcomed into his family earlier this month, the All-Star left fielder is hoping fatherhood will produce even more power this year.

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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.

Meetings help Indians set tone early in spring

Moss making progress; Murphy's role depends on health of others

Meetings help Indians set tone early in spring

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- One by one, Cleveland's position players made their way to manager Terry Francona's office Monday morning. Each year, Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti hold individual meetings with each player on the roster to go over goals for the spring and the coming season.

This practice is not done across the board among Major League teams, but it is something the Indians feel is important for their players and the team's staff. Scott Atchison, who has played for five big league teams, said the Indians' level of communication and honesty is something the players really appreciate, especially when there are roster competitions still to sort out.

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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

Anthony Castrovince

Carrasco a captivating figure in fascinating Tribe rotation

Carrasco a captivating figure in fascinating Tribe rotation

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In a sporting world in which many of us fruitlessly yell coaching tips at our high-definition televisions or offer laughed-off advice when presented with a moment of athlete interaction, some guy named Will broke through the barrier separating ballplayer and common fan.

Will is a baseball junkie from Clearwater, Fla. His kids go to the same school as Carlos Carrasco's kids. And as the two became friendly, Will felt comfortable offering a word of wisdom to his new buddy.

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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.

McAllister ready to accept any role for Indians

Right-hander competing for starting job, but would be happy in bullpen

McAllister ready to accept any role for Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- One way or another, Zach McAllister is expected to have a place within the Indians pitching staff on Opening Day. The only thing that needs to be sorted out this spring is precisely where the big right-hander will fit into the equation.

McAllister is among the candidates for the lone vacancy in Cleveland's rotation, but he also impressed the team last September during a stint in the bullpen. In terms of constructing the roster, McAllister is out of Minor League options, making it nearly a foregone conclusion that he will break camp with the big league team.

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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 set to play it safe with Moss, Swisher

Both players enter spring camp coming off surgical procedures

Indians set to play it safe with Moss, Swisher

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians will continue to take a cautious approach with Brandon Moss and Nick Swisher when full-squad workouts begin this week. Manager Terry Francona noted that both players will be limited in what they can do in the early stage of practices.

Both Moss and Swisher are returning from surgery.

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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.

Floyd making strong first impression on Indians

Right-hander is looking to stay healthy, bolster starting rotation

Floyd making strong first impression on Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway has closely monitored a handful of Gavin Floyd's bullpen sessions so far this spring. If Callaway did not already know that the pitcher underwent right elbow surgery last year, he said he would not know it from watching Floyd throw.

"Not at all," Callaway said on Sunday morning. "The first time I saw him was probably five days before camp started. He was out here early throwing bullpens. I was like, 'Wow, this is pretty good.' The ball was coming out great. Good spin on the ball. Good life. Good command."

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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 have arms aplenty from the left side

Indians have arms aplenty from the left side

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It is no secret that Indians manager Terry Francona likes to stockpile as many relievers as possible. While it is undetermined whether Cleveland will again open a season with an eight-man bullpen, it looks like the team will carry three left-handers.

As things currently stand, lefty relievers Marc Rzepczynski, Nick Hagadone and Kyle Crockett appear to be virutal locks for the Tribe's relief corps. The Indians have also added veteran southpaws Scott Downs and Bruce Chen as non-roster invitees, giving the club even more left-handed depth.

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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's offseason work paying early dividends

Bauer's offseason work paying early dividends

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Trevor Bauer headed into the offseason with a long list of goals. Beyond his work to enhance his velocity and overall command, one project that the young Indians pitcher tackled was finding a way to improve his two-seam fastball and splitter.

Bauer began that process last year, when he filmed bullpen workouts of teammates Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar to study their two-seamer and splitter, respectively. Bauer then found clips of Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman's sinker and Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka's split to add to his offseason film study sessions.

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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.

Bourn builds strength, speed with sprint legend Burrell

Center fielder uses training program to regain basestealing form

Bourn builds strength, speed with sprint legend Burrell

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Bourn knows he is not a kid anymore. As the Indians center fielder gets older, he understands that more time must be spent behind the scenes building and maintaining the strength in his legs in order to be the same type of baserunning threat he was a few years ago.

"I didn't have to do anything to get ready for a game," Bourn said of his younger days. "Pretty much, I could just walk over to the ballpark. I could jump out of bed, make a couple sprints and be ready to play. Now, that's not the case. I've got to get my body warmed up. I need to get prepared to play."

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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.