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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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."
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Corey Kluber logged more innings last year than he had in any other season in his career, but the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner does not want to change his Spring Training program too much. Cleveland's staff does not see any issue with letting the pitcher stay the course.
"It's kind of hard for us to really want to do anything different," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "The way he works and the way he conditions himself, and his routines, he tolerated last year. He looks great."
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It has become a tradition for Carlos Santana. Each year, shortly before he makes the annual journey from the Dominican Republic to Spring Training, he travels to the city of Higuey on the eastern side of his native island.
That is where the Basilica of La Altagracia is located. Inside the church, which has a unique series of arches and ornate stained glass to create a breath-taking sanctuary, Santana finds a pew and says his prayers. Once this ritual is complete, he feels ready to embrace the challenge of another season.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There were mixed reviews inside the Indians' clubhouse on Friday after Major League Baseball announced rule changes aimed at improving the pace of games.
Count Cleveland manager Terry Francona among those who are in favor of MLB's efforts to speed things up on the playing field. Francona feels the league has done a good job of researching and testing some of the rules before implementing them in the big leagues, and believes players will grow used to the changes over time.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona walked up to Minor League lefty Ryan Merritt, put his hands on the pitcher's shoulders and gave him a quick massage and pep talk. Merritt was Francona's horse in the conditioning race that took place on Friday morning.
At the end of the first official spring workout, all of Cleveland's pitchers took part in an endurance test on the agility field, where a series of electronic beeps and a recording of a voice counted down the time between a series of sprints. Pitchers were allowed to tap out when they became too tired, creating a competition that generated laughs and competitiveness.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have been gaining some national recognition of late as a possible sleeper team in the American League. One of the reasons prognosticators like the Tribe is the potential that exists within Cleveland's rotation.
Indians manager Terry Francona feels the starting staff will be essential for contention.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It is safe to say that last year was a nightmare for Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis. An oblique injury in April caused enough damage to hinder Kipnis throughout the entire season, reaching a point where the issues went beyond being just physical in nature.
Kipnis could not even enjoy sweet dreams about a sweet swing.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- He leaned against a table in the center of the Indians' clubhouse. Cleveland players strolled by, going about the day's work, seemingly unaware that one of the Tribe's legends was suddenly, but quietly, in their midst.
For the first time in three years, Albert Belle dropped by his former team's facility during Spring Training. Back in 2012, his arrival was much louder, though that can happen when Kenny Lofton and Carlos Baerga are also in the room. On Thursday, Belle swung by the complex on his own, wanting to say hello to some of the staff members who are still around from his days with the ballclub.