Due to Lonnie Chisenhall's injured right shoulder, Abraham Almonte found his way onto the Opening Day roster in an unexpected fashion.
Out of the six candidates to play in the Game 1 outfield, Chisenhall was the least likely to be omitted from the list. The 28-year-old was told he would start the year on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday morning after he crashed into the right field wall at Sloan Field and suffered a mild AC joint sprain last Friday.
- The outfield mix continues to shuffle through a variety of scenarios due to players with injuries, players recovering from injuries and non-roster invitees earning spots on the Opening Day roster. With Michael Brantley's status waiting to be determined, Austin Jackson, Tyler Naquin, Brandon Guyer and Abraham Almonte represent the four options likely to have made the cut.
"For the home opener, [Chisenhall] should be ready to be activated," said manager Terry Francona. "He was probably going to get two at-bats on Friday, and that's just not ready and I think he understands that."
The tentative plan is for Chisenhall to travel with the team to Texas before heading back east and playing in a few minor league games as part of a rehab assignment. If all goes as planned, the former first round pick is expected to be active on April 11 against the White Sox at Progressive Field.
- Almonte has officially made the major league club after batting .375/.434/.625 (18-for-48) with three doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs, five walks and three stolen bases this spring. The switch-hitting veteran is capable of playing all three outfield positions and had respectable splits against right-handed (.254, 29-for-114) and left-handed pitching (.279, 19-for-68) in 2016.
"He really is deserving," Francona said. "There's a lot of moving parts and there still are a few but it seems like everyday we get a little bit closer."
With Chisenhall out for at least six games to start the season, Almonte figures to get substantial playing time in the outfield, especially if Brantley is not deemed ready for a major league contest on April 3.
- General manager Chis Antonetti and Francona were both non-committal when asked about Brantley's chances of beginning the campaign at the big league level. Brantley is slated to start in left field against Arizona tomorrow before a final decision is made.
"Every decision is for the person," said Francona. "He's done such a good job that what we really care about is him continuing to be healthy. Whether that's the first day, the third day, the fifth day - if he's healthy we're all going to be happy."
- Carlos Santana has been taking reps in left and right field over the past week in camp in preparation for a potential appearance at the unfamiliar position on April 7, 8 and 9 at Arizona. The Dominican Republic native has logged four regular season and 12.2 postseason innings in left field.
"Carlos is really open to it," Francona said. "I love the fact that he's willing to."
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.