The Indians have informed veteran outfielder Matt Joyce that he won’t make the roster, manager Terry Francona told reporters Friday (Twitter link via STO’s Andre Knott). The team is giving Joyce a bit of time to ponder his next step — presumably exploring other opportunities out there and weighing a potential assignment to Triple-A Columbus. The 34-year-old Joyce had a rough 2018 season with the A’s (.208/.322/.353 in 246 PAs) and is just 5-for-27 with seven punchouts and three walks thus far in Spring Training. However, he’s only one season removed from batting .243/.335/.473 with Oakland in 2017 and has generally functioned as a quality platoon bat over the past decade in the Majors. Of course, finding another opportunity could be tough, as there are still other veteran left-handed-hitting outfield bats looking for work on the market — including Carlos Gonzalez and Denard Span.
With Joyce out of the mix for the Indians, it seems they’ll lean on some combination of Greg Allen, Jake Bauers, Leonys Martin, Tyler Naquin and Jordan Luplow in the outfield. Once Bradley Zimmer has fully recovered from shoulder surgery, he’ll reemerge as an option as well.
Here’s more from the AL Central…
- Another veteran in camp with the Indians on a minor league deal, Tyler Clippard, will be sidelined from baseball activities for three to four weeks due to a mild pectoral strain, the club announced. The Indians, however, would like to keep Clippard, per Francona. That seemingly suggests that the Indians view the right-hander as a legitimate part of their MLB pen this year, though it’s tough to know what the roster landscape will look like when he is ready to resume competitive action. The 34-year-old Clippard has appeared in three spring contests and tallied 2 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts and a walk. Last year, in 68 2/3 frames with the Blue Jays, he logged a 3.67 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 against an alarming 1.70 HR/9 mark.
- It seems there’s a realistic chance that Royals right-hander Kyle Zimmer will head north on the active roster, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes. He’s throwing in the mid-nineties and showing an impressive curveball, per skipper Ned Yost, who says that the progress throughout camp has been remarkable. The 27-year-old Zimmer, once the fifth overall pick in the draft, has yet to appear in the big leagues. He re-signed with the club on a MLB deal back in November but can still be optioned to Triple-A. Flanagan notes that the Royals are likely to carry an eight-man bullpen, though several spots are already earmarked for Wily Peralta, Brad Boxberger, Jake Diekman, Tim Hill, Kevin McCarthy and perhaps Rule 5 pick Sam McWilliams.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn discussed his team’s plans for its top prospects, as Madeline Kenney of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Hahn cited a tepid spring showing at the plate as the basis for the decision to place exciting youngster Eloy Jimenez back at Triple-A. Jimenez slashed .355/.399/.597 in 228 plate appearances there last year. As for top pitching prospect Dylan Cease, Hahn says the righty is ready to succeed in the majors. But he’ll also head back to the upper minors as part of the team’s plan to “get him through an entire season strong.” Cease threw a career-high 124 innings last year and so likely won’t be asked to take 32 starts in the season to come. Hahn says he’ll likely join the MLB roster at some point during the summer.