The Indians have little time to evaluate Marlon Byrd and make final roster decisions, as Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Manager Terry Francona acknowledged the dilemma of making a call after a brief look at the late-to-sign veteran. “It’s not like we need to see him hit a home run,” said Francona. “This is going to be a hard one. I think we’re balancing not trying to do too much, too quick. … Because it’s going to be hard unless something jumps out one way or another.” As Lewis notes, the organization does have some flexibility since it can retain some of the competitors for outfield jobs — including Joey Butler, Collin Cowgill, and Tyler Naquin — via options. Will Venable is also in the hunt for a role, per the report, while Robbie Grossman and Shane Robinson appear to be “outside contenders” at this point.
Here’s more from the central divisions:
- Twins righty Alex Meyer will return to the rotation to open the 2016 season, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. The former top-50 leaguewide prospect shifted to the pen last year after a disastrous beginning to the season, with up-and-down results. Meyer has a long way to go to restore his prospect sheen, but it seems he’ll at least have a chance to harness his big arm as a starter.
- Trevor Rosenthal of the Cardinals, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the game’s best relievers, but still hopes to have a chance to return at some point to the rotation, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Rosenthal mostly pitched as a starter in the brief time he spent in the minors, but has operated exclusively in relief at the major league level. Though he didn’t take issue with his 9th-inning role, Rosenthal said he “would definitely like to have [a starting] opportunity,” preferably “sooner rather than later.” Of course, his role is highly unlikely to change this spring or over the season to come, and it remains to be seen whether the organization will be willing to tinker next spring. Rosenthal’s work as a closer has already earned him a $5.6MM payday in his first of three years of arbitration.
- Infielder Yadiel Rivera has impressed the Brewers this spring, but finds himself in a tough spot in the organization’s hierarchy, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. The 23-year-old is behind Jonathan Villar in the pecking order at the major league level, with the heralded Orlando Arcia rising quickly as well. But there’s little question that a rebuilding Milwaukee organization will find some way to give Rivera a chance if his added strength and confidence show up in the results; indeed, none of the club’s likely starting infielders appear to have a stranglehold on their jobs heading into the season.