Brown, Grilli scratched prior to opener

Brown, Grilli scratched prior to opener

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Before the first pitch of their first Cactus League game, the Indians scheduled two MRI exams on Friday.

It was, obviously, not quite the ratio of games to MRIs the Tribe was hoping for.

Left fielder Jordan Brown was scratched from the Cactus opener against the Reds with what was described by the club as right knee soreness. Reliever Jason Grilli also suffered a right knee injury during the morning workout.

The Indians' training staff wasn't expecting to have more information on the status of the two players until Saturday, as it takes a day to review MRI results.

Brown, who was replaced in left by Austin Kearns, suffered the injury after belting two homers in the Tribe's first two intrasquad games. That's the type of first impression Brown, who won the International League batting title last year but was not given a September callup, was hoping to make on the new coaching staff.

The knee issue won't help Brown's chances of making the club, but he was hopeful that the injury is not serious. The right knee is not the knee that Brown had arthroscopic surgery performed on before the 2008 season.

"This doesn't change anything," Brown said. "I'm still the same player. I don't think this is anything career-threatening. If that was the case, I'd be in a lot more pain."

But the 26-year-old Brown, who batted .336 with a .913 OPS at Triple-A Columbus last year and is hopeful of landing a reserve outfield role, admitted the timing of this injury could not be worse.

"I had a very good groove going," Brown said. "I felt good about what I was doing. It's not the greatest timing, but some things you can't control."

Brown wasn't sure how he hurt his knee. He could tell during outfield drills that something wasn't right, so he came off the field and was then carted to the clubhouse.

As for the 33-year-old Grilli, the veteran right-hander is here as a non-roster invitee hoping to land a spot in the Indians' bullpen. He went 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA in 52 appearances with the Rockies and Rangers last season and was on the list of pitchers scheduled to throw in Sunday's game against the Rangers.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.