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Spring Training Notes 3/27: Cleveland Indians map out pitching rotation

Three days after announcing Corey Kluber as the Opening Day starter, the Cleveland Indians went ahead and penciled in the remaining order of their pitching rotation for the first week of the season on Monday.

Manager Terry Francona's spring training to-do list is beginning to thin.

In the last 48 hours, the Indians have optioned two players to Triple-A, reassigned three players to minor league camp and informed four players that they will not make the Opening Day roster - all before releasing their week one pitching rotation on Monday morning.

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- Corey Kluber (April 3), Carlos Carrasco (April 4), Danny Salazar (April 5), Josh Tomlin (April 7) and Trevor Bauer (April 8) are set to make their 2017 debuts against the Texas Rangers or Arizona Diamondbacks in the early stages of April. Carrasco only tossed 11 innings this spring, and skipped a start due to right elbow swelling and the birth of his fifth child.

"I think we feel after his four-inning outing, that he's going to be ready to go," said pitching coach Mickey Callaway to reporters. "Obviously not stretched out to the point that everybody else is, but we feel that him being Carrasco and a good five innings out of him at 85 pitches is going to be enough for him to move forward and be ready to go."

The 30-year-old is slated to make the aforementioned four-inning appearance on Wednesday vs. Cincinnati at 3:05 PM in Goodyear, Ariz.

- Michael Brantley's final challenge at camp will be to play three consecutive Cactus League games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If all goes well, then Brantley may be on the Opening Day lineup card for the first time since 2015 in Houston.

"We're trying to be fair to him," Francona said. "We need to make sure we do right by him, because that will end up being right by us. We're just trying to be fair."

Francona would not commit to Brantley's chances of playing out of the gate, but hinted he is trending in the right direction.

"He looks very good," said Francona. "Again, it's gone well. I'd rather have it be going like that than the other way."

- Cody Anderson reportedly underwent successful Tommy John surgery with Dr. Keith Meister on Monday in Dallas, Texas. He will be sidelined for 12-18 months.

- Lonnie Chisenhall is nearing a return after taking swings in the batting cage prior to Monday's affair with the Chicago Cubs. No decision has been made in regards to Chisenhall's availability for Game 1.

- Hitting drills and easy throwing continues to be the daily routine for Jason Kipnis (right shoulder inflammation). The second baseman is approaching the midpoint of his four to five week recovery period.

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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