Spring Training Notes 3/15: Francisco Mejia sent to Double-A Akron

The future of the Cleveland Indians organization is looking bright, especially at the catcher position. Francisco Mejia was optioned to Double-A Akron on Wednesday after batting .421 with two home runs and eight RBIs this spring.

Francisco Mejia was bound for a minor league designation no matter how many towering home runs he hit in the 2017 Cactus League.

At the age of 21 with zero MiLB experience above High-A Lynchburg, the Cleveland Indians decided to send their top prospect to Double-A Akron on Wednesday morning. 

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- Not only did Mejia make an impression at camp, but he proved to be an X-factor by slugging a pair of game-changing home runs against Kansas City (3/11) and San Diego (3/12). 

"He needs to start going to catch," said Terry Francona after Mejia only logged 22 innings behind the dish. "I thought the time here was really good for him. He got to be with Sandy (Alomar Jr.) for a month. He got to catch some of the major league pitchers."

In 11 games and 19 at-bats, Mejia went 8-for-19 with eight RBIs and a slash line of .421/.450/.789. His pinch-hit grand slam was the difference in a come-from-behind victory over the Royals last Saturday.

"Although he has some developing to do, it can translate into helping our major league team," Francona said. "We've all seen what he can do, so I think the experience was really good for him."

- Nellie Rodriguez has been reassigned to minor league camp days after suffering a right ankle sprain in Sunday's contest at San Diego.

"Nellie probably wasn't going to play for another five, six days anyway," said Francona. "He'll just go to the other side and get his treatment. Then when he comes back, they'll get him back into the return to play. He needs to play anyway. He's got plenty of at-bats up to this point because of guys being gone."

"When he's able to play, it's going to be harder to find innings for him, and he needs to start getting stretched out and playing nine (innings) and things like that."

- One game, one double, three RBIs. Michael Brantley's appearance in a minor league game on Wednesday was indicative of how his hitting progression and rehabilitation has gone so far - smoothly.

"I felt good," Brantley said to reporters after the contest. "It's another step in the process. It went well"

On the day, Brantley finished 1-for-3 and made one putout in left field.

- The Tribe does not seem to be overly concerned with Carlos Carrasco's swelling right elbow. There is currently no date for when he will return to the hill, but Francona expects him to throw a bullpen at some point depending on the birth of his fifth child.

"He really said he feels a lot better today which is a good sign," said Francona. "He's going to throw a bullpen at some point before he pitches. And then with that baby coming it's up in the air a little bit."

Tuesday's examination revealed no structural damage to the same elbow that underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2011.

"We really don't know," Francona said in regards to Carrasco's timetable for return. "First thing is to get him feeling good so he can throw his side and things like that - and I doubt if that's going to be very long. Then we also have to map out knowing he's going to be gone so we'll figure it out."

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.

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