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Tribe fields young lineup as regulars rest

Tribe fields young lineup as regulars rest

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The lineup that the Indians' assembled for Saturday's game against the Mariners looked nothing like the projected nine for Opening Day. The group Cleveland fielded at Peoria Stadium was instead a glimpse at the ballclub's future.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor and center fielder Tyler Naquin -- the Indians' first-round picks in the 2011 and '12 Drafts, respectively -- were in the starting lineup, along with second base prospect Jose Ramirez. Middle infield prospects Tony Wolters and Ronny Rodriguez came off the bench.

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"That was really fun today," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Our young kids, and they're really young, they looked like they belonged out there. That was really exciting."

Combined, those five farmhands went 7-for-17 at the plate in a 10-5 Cactus League victory for the Indians, accounting for three runs scored, three extra-base hits and four RBIs in the process. Lindor paced the pack of prospects by going 3-for-5 with an RBI triple and one run.

Francona has been impressed all spring by the 19-year-old Lindor, who has hit .316 (6-for-19) in nine Cactus League games.

"His future is really bright," Francona said. "And the kid Ramirez and Naquin. That was a fun day for the organization."

Many of Cleveland's regulars had appeared in three consecutive games, including Friday's night game against the D-backs. As a result, Saturday's tilt against Seattle was used as a rest day for most of the Major Leaguers. Utility man Mike Aviles and backup catcher Lou Marson were in the lineup, along with bench candidates Jason Giambi, Ezequiel Carrera and Cord Phelps.

"We're just trying to cover everything," Francona said of giving the regular players a day off. "Their bodies aren't used to playing a night game, and then a day game yet."

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.

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