Now that two weeks of spring training have come to a close, the Cleveland Indians are prepping their players for the challenges of a grueling 162-game season.
Brandon Guyer, Michael Brantley and Carlos Carrasco are up for the task, but their preparation this spring has been altered due to injury rehabilitation, treatment and recovery.
Manager Terry Francona detailed how each player is feeling and where their programs will align with the remaining portion of camp in Goodyear, AZ.
- With Guyer nursing a hamstring injury and Lonnie Chisenhall out of the lineup due to illness on Monday, the right field depth chart has been running thin this week.
Not only is Chisenhall back in the lineup batting third for Tuesday's game against the Oakland Athletics, but Guyer is fully healthy and participating in all drills on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
"I bet you by the weekend," said Francona as to when he expects Guyer to play in Cactus League games.
The 31-year-old had minor issues with his hip and hamstring last week, but neither was considered a threat to his daily activity.
- After taking on-field batting practice for the first time all spring, Brantley's shoulder is feeling fine according to Francona. Like the rest of the players not travelling to Hohokam Stadium for Game 4, Brantley will stay inside in what figures to be a lighter day of work.
"He's fine," Francona said. "Nobody is going outside today, but he is doing fine. He was excited I think yesterday."
The Tribe will continue to ease Brantley into his elevated workload before testing him in games. There has not been any soreness or pain in his right shoulder that underwent surgery this past August.
"I think they're different circumstances," said Francona when asked about how his 2017 recovery compares to his 2016 recovery. "Nobody ever has a crystal ball, so you try to do what's right all the time."
- On paper, it was an inauspicious 2017 debut for Carrasco on Monday. He allowed a triple and home run in the first inning alone before Zach McAllister entered in the third frame. From a visual perspective, the number two starter looked confident in his offerings and excited to toe the rubber after a 164-day layoff.
"It was nice to see him pitch," Francona said. "I thought he stayed in his delivery and everything."
Carrasco settled in the next frame by inducing a double play and striking out Doug Bernier on a well-placed ball in the dirt.
"It's a good first step," said Francona. "Anytime you see your pitchers, let's say your starters, going out there and looking healthy using their fastball - that's really the biggest goal."
The hard-throwing right-hander will handle the most spring innings on the pitching staff because his broken finger is recovered and far less severe than an elbow or shoulder injury.
"Once that thing healed, he's fine," Francona said. "He's actually going to get more innings than probably anybody this spring just because he hasn't pitched for awhile."
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.