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Asdrubal confident he'll be ready to start Opening Day

Asdrubal confident he'll be ready to start Opening Day

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Asdrubal Cabrera is confident that he will be over his current back injury and in the Indians' lineup on Opening Day. The All-Star shortstop is so optimistic that he summoned his inner Nick Swisher when asked Thursday if he would be ready for the start of the season.

"For sure, bro," Cabrera said with a grin.

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Told that Cabrera dropped a "bro" on inquisitive reporters, Swisher laughed.

"I love it, bro," Swisher beamed. "It's catching on!"

Kidding aside, the Indians believe Cabrera is indeed on target to be in the lineup for Tuesday's season-opening game on the road against the Blue Jays. The switch-hitting shortstop has missed the past six games due to the back injury, which was suffered while swinging a bat from the right side in the batting cage on Saturday.

Indians manager Terry Francona indicated that Cabrera, who resumed hitting drills on Wednesday, was scheduled to take part in Thursday's team workout. Depending on how the shortstop feels on Friday morning, he might be cleared to get a handful of plate appearances in a Minor League game as a designated hitter.

If Cabrera is going to play in a Cactus League game again before camp breaks, it would likely be in Cleveland's spring finale against the Reds on Saturday.

"He's doing well," Francona said. "He's definitely on pace for Opening Day. We're just trying to figure out the best way for him to feel more comfortable at the plate."

Through 13 Cactus League games this spring, Cabrera has hit .281 (9-for-32) with one home run and seven RBIs, and he also had a brief stint with Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Last season, he hit .270 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 143 games for the Indians.

Cabrera said he is looking forward to rejoining a retooled starting lineup that includes newcomers Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and Swisher.

"I'm just waiting for that day," Cabrera said. "I think we've got a really good team right now and a really good offense. There's a little more experience. I think we're going to do good this year."

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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