The Cleveland Indians will play their next two weeks of Cactus League games with a downsized roster due to the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Representing the Tribe and each of their respective countries are Andrew Miller of the United States, Francisco Lindor, Roberto Perez and Joseph Colon of Puerto Rico, Carlos Santana of the Dominican Republic, Chris Colabello and Luis Lugo of Italy, Tyler Krieger of Israel, Giovanny Urshela of Colombia and Ping-Hsueh Chen and Shao-Ching Chiang of Chinese Tapei.
Bruce Chen, a former pitcher and current cultural development coordinator for the Cleveland organization, is also scheduled to start for China in its opening round matchup with Cuba at 10 PM ET on Tuesday from the Tokyo Dome.
- International baseball is back for the first time since 2013. The Dominican Republic will look to defend their WBC crown in a 16-day tournament taking place at six different stadiums across four countries. The first and second rounds will be a round robin with the top two teams from each division advancing. Dodger Stadium will play host to the championship round, a single elimination format between the four remaining countries.
Also of note, teams will have runners at first and second base if/when the contest reaches the 11th frame.
- Puerto Rico's star-studded infield will position itself in the following manner: Francisco Lindor at shortstop, Carlos Correa at third base and Javier Baez at second base.
Terry Francona had a "strong request" for manager Edwin Rodriguez to play Lindor in his usual MLB role.
- Jason Kipnis (mild right shoulder strain) and Austin Jackson (left knee) will make their 2017 debuts on Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels, rather than Wednesday vs. the Seattle Mariners, according to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. The duo was originally slated for tomorrow's evening affair, but the 15-hour turnaround between the two games called for a change of plans.
"We'll have them play Thursday," said Francona to reporters. "I just thought for two guys who haven't played to come into a night game after a day off Tuesday, didn't make much sense."
While Kipnis' will be the designated hitter with an everyday job already secured, Jackson will be tested immediately and patrol center field. If Tyler Naquin (bruised right foot) misses further time as indicated by his day-to-day injury status, then the non-roster invitee will get an extended look over the weekend.
- With Lindor playing in the WBC, Erik Gonzalez, Michael Martinez and Eric Stamets will reportedly play shortstop before his late-March return.
- Now that Corey Kluber has made a spring training start, Josh Tomlin remains as the only 2016 starter without a 2017 appearance. The 32-year-old right-hander will join Kipnis and Jackson on Thursday to make his first outing from Goodyear Ballpark.