Donald to see time all over infield, outfield

Donald to see time all over infield, outfield

Donald to see time all over infield, outfield
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jason Donald could have come to camp this spring with four or five different gloves, but the Indians' utility man decided to keep things simple.

"One glove for the infield and one glove for the outfield," Donald said. "Simple math."

On Saturday, during Cleveland's first full-squad workout, Donald bounced between second base and shortstop during fielding drills. The plan this spring is to have Donald evenly distribute his time between those two spots and third base, with some outfield added into the mix in a few weeks.

A year ago, Donald was in the running for the Indians' starting role at third base, but that job now rests in the hands of either Jack Hannahan or Lonnie Chisenhall. Without a clear position for him to handle, Donald has embraced the chance to become a versatile option off the Tribe's bench.

"Right now, the biggest thing for me is just preparing to play," Donald said. "It's making sure that my body is ready to go come game time when we start spring games, whatever position I have to play on the field. Thinking about the opportunity, what could come of it, is nice.

"That's in the back of my mind. But ultimately, I'm thinking about just today and getting ready for these Spring Training games and trying to be prepared for that."

Last spring, Donald had his left hand broken by a pitch on March 5, costing him a spot on the Opening Day roster. A left knee injury while at Triple-A Columbus complicated matters, delaying his return to the big leagues. When Donald did eventually rejoin the Indians, he hit .318 in 39 games with a .377 average against lefties.

That performance helped put Donald in a good position to earn a job with Cleveland this spring.

"He's the leading candidate," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "You guys saw what he did for us last year."

As for playing some outfield, Donald said he is excited for the challenge. He appeared in a handful of instructional league games in the outfield and will see some action out there again at some point in March. It is just one more way for Donald to offer Cleveland a backup plan and a way for him to find more at-bats.

"The first time I did it, I felt like I was in high school playing football again," said Donald, who played quarterback and safety in those days. "It's something I would embrace if the opportunity presented itself on a consistent basis.

"Whatever would need to be done on my end to get more at-bats, or help our ballclub -- whatever it is, I'll do it."