CLEVELAND, Ohio – Franmil Reyes says he’s determined to record some innings in the outfield for the Indians this spring, but an ankle injury sustained a few weeks ago in the Dominican Republic could slow his progress.
Reyes told reporters via Zoom on Monday that he sprained his right ankle while getting readings from the left flys during training before heading to camp in Goodyear, Arizona. He said the ankle feels good now in batting practice, but live at-bats against a pitcher are another story. The intensity of each swing puts more pressure on your back foot and makes the injury hurt “a little more.”
As of Monday morning, manager Terry Francona had yet to have a face-to-face conversation with Reyes, as is customary for all players at the start of camp. But don’t be surprised to see the 6-foot-5 slugger in his familiar role of designated hitter early on.
“I don’t want him to put himself in a position that is unfair to him, to make him run around,” Francona said. “My guess is we’ll start it in the outfield, in right field.”
Francona said he wants to let Reyes know he’s not “typecast” in a designated hitter spot because it would open up opportunities for other people. But the boss acknowledged that he wants to employ his best defensive team.
“And when we go to the NL cities, we really wish we didn’t have to sit him down, especially if he’s hitting really well,” Francona said.
Reyes said he is open to playing where necessary to help the Indians win, but added that he has been a right fielder his entire life.
“Honestly, I’ll do what they want me to do,” Reyes said. “If they want to leave me there at DH, I agree with that. If I have to be in the outfield or first base, I know I can do my job. “
Wait, first base? The video of Reyes taking shots first appeared on social media this offseason. But he admitted that he hasn’t done any serious work there.
“Never,” Reyes said. “Probably a couple of grounders during the season at first base. That’s all.”
1. Never assume they know
Unsurprisingly, Francona did not deliver his traditional keynote address for the players on Monday and referred to the coaches, clubhouse assistants and other staff who introduced themselves and went over the “cleanup” issues.
On Tuesday, he will lay out his expectations for the season and the club’s overall philosophies to everyone, including those who have heard him before.
“We are trying to lay the groundwork for how we want to tackle our challenges in the coming year, and if you don’t talk to them about it, it’s probably unfair to expect them to understand what we are trying to do,” he said.
Waiting until Tuesday also allowed Indians to space things out and keep everyone socially estranged in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sometimes I probably tend to get a little quick and talk,” Francona said. “But I think it’s better this way and I think it’s respectful of the protocols.”
2. Launch in perpetuity
Left-hander Oliver Pérez is in camp for what he hopes will be his 19th major league season. On Monday he told reporters that if they asked him two or three years ago if he thought he would play that long, he would say “no way.”
But when the Indians expressed interest in bringing him back for a fourth season with the club, the 39-year-old native of Mexico said he was excited.
“For me that is really special,” Pérez said. “I will never lose my passion for the game. Right now when I go home I feel like I’m 39, but when I get to the clubhouse I feel like a rookie because I’m so excited to be with everyone and have a good time and just follow our dream of being in the majors. Suspenders. and maybe one day I will win the World Series. “
3. Google it, bro
Shane Bieber says he’s not at all surprised that his teammate James Karinchak developed his devastating curveball after investigating Lance McCullers Jr.’s pitching grip in the 2017 playoffs on Google.
Bieber said the proliferation of social media accounts like Rob Friedman’s Launcher Ninja and other websites dedicated to analyzing the finer details of pitching have opened a whole new avenue for younger pitchers to develop their craft.
Bieber sees it as an avenue for pitchers to share their thoughts, cues, pitch grabs, and more.
“If you’re ever struggling or if you need a new perspective in a field or you’re trying to add something, that’s always a good place to start, especially in this world we’re in now,” Bieber said. . “Social media and the Internet can provide many tools for those who want to learn and are hungry to learn.”
4. Man in the middle
Cesar Hernandez won his first career Gold Glove at second base last season, but after agreeing to return as a free agent, he will have to add a new shortstop following the trade of Francisco Lindor to the Mets.
Hernández does not anticipate that it will take a long time to catch up with whoever wins the job, be it the more experienced Amed Rosario, who hails from the Dominican Republic, or his young Venezuelan compatriot Andrés Giménez.
“We know that the communication part will be much easier, not only to communicate but to get along and understand the styles of others,” said Hernández through the interpreter Agustín Rivero. “Like last year with Lindor, it was a quick adaptation.
Hernandez played Rosario as a member of the Phillies and described him as a very athletic defender who likes to run.
“He’s not afraid of making mistakes,” Hernandez said. “That’s the key, having that combination of guys who are always willing to give that extra effort and that’s going to be contagious.”
Giménez, for his part, has shown a desire to play and learn the game.
“He has a lot of tools to be able to play here,” Hernandez said. “He’s really already showing that desire. He may contribute to us at some point ”.
5. Parents everywhere
Reyes was asked how excited he was to see so many former San Diego teammates at camp with the Indians. He expressed his special feelings for outfielder Josh Naylor, whom he affectionately referred to as his brother. But Reyes also mentioned his excitement about being in camp with veteran catcher Austin Hedges.
“I haven’t seen Hedgie since 2013, when he was a little boy, 18 years old,” Reyes said.
Speaking of kids, young shortstop Gabriel Arias is also at camp, giving Reyes a boost.
“That’s my friend,” Reyes said. “He is Venezuelan but every time he went to the complex (in the Dominican Republic) to practice, that was my boy. You guys will be really excited to see that. He has great hands and can hit. A lot of style about him. “
New Indian face masks for sale: This is where you can buy Cleveland Indians-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB proceeds were donated to charities.
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