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Francona's Thoughts: April 26 vs. Houston Astros

Manager Terry Francona talked about Austin Jackson, Brandon Guyer, Houston's dangerous batting order, Jose Ramirez and more prior to Wednesday's first pitch between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros.

On Austin Jackson:

A: "I think he deserves a ton of credit for getting himself in game shape as quickly as he did because, I think when people see a knee scope they say, ‘little knee scope.’ He had a lot done in there and he missed a fair amount of time. When he got the OK from the trainers, he was going game speed pretty quickly, which was impressive, but he maintained it. I think when you see him get more repetition, he’s never been a big split guy, really, but on our club right now, it seems to make sense to play him against lefties. You can see him getting at-bats, kind of like Guyer, just kind of based on the makeup of the roster, health of guys, things like that."

On Jackson playing the outfield:

A: "I think some of that has been because he’s so dependable. Always in the right spot, he moves well pre-pitch. He doesn’t run like he did when he was younger, but he’s very dependable out there. I think that’s the best word I can use."

On Houston's lineup:

A: "I mean, I knew coming in, regardless of what happened last night. They kind of are built to play in October. I think they’ve done a real good job. They were the team that jumped out early in the winter. Reddick and McCann, Beltran. They not only got hitters that can produce, but they got some leadership also. I thought they did a good job. You start mixing in those guys with the youth that they have, (it’s a) pretty interesting ball club. A lot to deal with. There’s no off-innings, that’s for sure."

On Trevor Bauer's last outing:

A: "We try to take something from everything, whether it was good or bad. The way he threw the other day, I think it was certainly something to build off of, or a jumping-off point. He should have felt pretty good about himself. He’s going to have to pitch really good for us to win. McCullers has real good stuff, and he’s another one of those younger guys that, you get to the major leagues and you realize you don’t only belong, but you can be good. He’s starting to show that."

On the collision between Jose Altuve and Teoscar Hernandez on Tuesday:

A: "He got up pretty quick, and then sat back down. I don’t want to say you don’t care, you certainly care, but you never want to see somebody get hurt. But it didn’t look like – he looked like he had his wits about him. When you saw the replay, it looked like he got hit pretty hard, but at least when he got up and moved around you were like, ‘OK, he’s going to be OK.’ He just got shaken up. It’s hard to see from that far away, exactly what happened, but I think everybody takes a little bit of relief when you see a kid get up and move around."

On sticking with players despite struggles:

A: "It can seem that way at times. Same thing with bullpen guys when they’re having a tough time. I remember last time when Shaw went through that period, everybody wanted to ask, and I just felt like running away was not the right thing to do. There’s time when, like every team, you send guys back to Triple-A, or you make a move. But when you know a guy, Guyer is a good example, he’s on your club, he’s been on your club. We need him to do certain things. Well, by running away, it’s not going to help him get to that. You ask the players to try and be consistent, so I try and do the same thing. You can move guys in the batting order if you want to. I think putting guys in the same situations, he’s going to figure it out, he’s too good not to."

On sensing when a player like Guyer is about to break out of a slump:

A: "I think he’s (Guyer) a really tough kid. I know he’s aggravated right now because he’s getting good pitches that he’s not hitting them like he wants to. Sometimes with guys that play every day, you know like I thought that home run in Chicago would kind of get him going. When you don’t play every day, sometimes you can’t back up those at-bats. So they can come and go a little bit. But I think he has 27 or 28 at-bats. I still fall back on the ‘guys get to their level.’ And when he does, there probably will be some damage in there, there will be some home runs, some RBIs. I wish I could explain it a little better, but I think that’s just the way it is. Guys get to their level and when they do, like I say, if you kind of run away, you miss out on them. Or they may not get to that level if you run away from them."

On Yan Gomes' error on Tuesday:

A: "No, guy was out of the baseline. That doesn’t matter today, but I asked Millsy when I was out there. I thought I knew what I saw, but I don’t want to be out there yelling at somebody if I’m wrong. Millsy had kind of told me."

On Jose Ramirez moving from second to third base:

A: "One, he’s a really good player. I think it’s easier for him to go from second to third as opposed to left field to third. He was so busy last year at the beginning, trying to make that transition to left field because he hadn’t played that much. Then when he came to third a little bit, you could tell there were a few balls that maybe got up on him a little bit earlier, he didn’t really have his feet under him all of the time on his throws. I know it’s a longer throw from third, but he played there all spring and the majority of last year. I just think he’s a really good defensive infielder.  I think you could put him at short, he may not be able to make that throw from the hole that not a lot of guys do anyway. But he’d probably make all the plays there, too."

On the shift:

A: "I mean, we did it in, I think it was Minnesota when Yandy was not able to complete the double play. Jose, that’s a real bonus when you have somebody like that. I’ve never been a real big fan of doing what a lot of the teams do, they move the third baseman way over to the right field side. I just don’t agree, but that’s a part of what makes the game so good. When you have a guy that’s kind of a shortstop-ish guy over there, it really does help."

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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