Tribe to iron out roster well ahead of season

Tribe to iron out roster well ahead of season

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona does not want to delay the team's Opening Day roster decisions until the end of Spring Training. He planned to meet with Cleveland's front office and coaching staff this weekend to discuss the remaining moves.

"We're trying to walk through a number of things in the next couple days," Francona said on Friday morning. "We'll sit down Sunday morning and have a pretty good meeting to try to clarify a lot of things."

The Indians have at least two jobs available in the bullpen and one spot up for grabs in the starting rotation. Cleveland also needs to sort out its situation at third base and round out the two or three openings on the bench.

Playing a role in the Tribe's thinking will be that veteran Jason Giambi -- sidelined with a fractured rib in his right side -- is unlikely to be ready for the season opener. Center fielder Michael Bourn is also dealing with a left hamstring issue that may hinder his ability to be at full strength come Opening Day.

Francona said he believed that making roster decisions well ahead of Opening Day was in the best interest of the players.

"I think it's helpful on a lot of fronts," Francona said. "I think for our team, it helps, and I think for the players. Some guys are going to get news they don't want to hear. As you get closer [to Opening Day] and people are packing, it gets tougher. We respect that.

"We ask the guys in that clubhouse to be a part of the team, and, to a man, everybody has done that. So, as you get closer, it gets harder."

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.