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More freedom for pitchers and hitters in live BP


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Over the last few Spring Trainings under former manager Manny Acta, hitters were instructed not to swing on the first day of live batting practice. Cleveland is tweaking that approach under new manager Terry Francona.

On Monday, Francona said his hitters will have the choice of whether to take a pitch or swing at it during Tuesday's live BP sessions for pitchers.

"What we'll do is it's optional," Francona said. "Guys do not have to swing. We kind of played around with a few different things, where it was maybe mandatory where they don't swing."

The Indians are also not going to require the pitchers to throw from behind an L-screen, which offers some protection from baseballs hit back up the middle.

After discussing the setup with multiple pitchers, Francona and his staff found many of the players were uncomfortable throwing from behind the screen. That is especially the case for pitchers with lower release points in their delivery. Sinkerballer Justin Masterson is one example.

"We found that the majority of the pitchers do not want to use an L-screen, which I understand," Francona said. "So what we're going to do is the guys, they're going to throw without the L-screen and the guys can hit if they want. If they choose to take and track the ball, that's fine.

"I don't think you're going to see a whole lot of loud contact [on Tuesday] anyway."

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