Instead of travelling overseas and representing Cuba at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Yandy Diaz made the decision to stay with the Cleveland Indians in an effort to leap his way onto the opening day roster.
Although he has reached base safely in eight of his 15 plate appearances (2 H, 5 BB, 1 HBP) this spring, Diaz has recently been nursing a sore groin. The 25-year-old missed the last two Cactus League games and was not listed on Thursday's dress list against the Los Angeles Angels.
- With Michael Brantley trending in the right direction and Abraham Almonte playing well in spring training contests (4-16, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs, 1 SB), the window for an opening day opportunity is beginning to fade for the reportedly injured Diaz. Unless any unforeseen injuries occur to everyday players, Diaz appears to be ticketed for Triple-A where he can better suit himself for an outfield role at the MLB level (257 minor league games in the IF, 52 minor league games in the OF).
- Cody Anderson had an MRI on his right elbow on Thursday after experiencing discomfort at camp. Once an integral part of the Tribe's starting rotation in 2015, Anderson has tentatively been shutdown with his MRI results yet to be revealed. The club's 14th round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft had a dismal 2016 season highlighted by six promotions, six demotions and an off-season surgery to the same elbow on November 9, 2016.
- On the contrary, Brantley has flourished throughout his hitting progression this spring. Dr. Smooth felt good after participating in a simulated game on Wednesday against Zach McAllister and Carlos Frias and plans to repeat the process in a five-inning sim game on Friday. In addition to his hitting duties, Brantley will play outfield alongside his teammates, another step forward in his recovery from a torn labrum in 2015 and biceps surgery in 2016.
- To go along with the 2017 debuts of Josh Tomlin, Jason Kipnis and Austin Jackson, the Indians also announced the potential return of Tyler Naquin. If the scenario presents itself, Naquin could enter Thursday's ballgame in place of Kipnis as the designated hitter. The former Texas A&M standout suffered a bruised right foot after fouling a pitch off his leg on Sunday, but X-rays came back negative.