The latest from the Junior Circuit . . .
- There’s no timetable on Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor’s return, writes Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon-Journal. The 25-year-old three-time all-star will reportedly get a second opinion on his “mild-to-moderate[ly]” sprained left ankle Monday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, as the Cleveland brass trips over itself to ensure the superstar’s IL stint doesn’t linger. Touted prospect Yu Chang had spent time on the spring shelf with a minor hand injury, so the club has turned for the interim to the uninspiring Max Moroff/Eric Stamets duo to fill the void. The 25-year-old Moroff, an offseason acquisition from Pittsburgh, may be a bit out of his element at the position, though the slick-fielding Stamets is most certainly not. Neither, of course, can hope to approximate Lindor’s 129 wRC+/6.9 WAR projected ZiPS output; the club, then, would figure to spend much of the long weekend with fingers crossed.
- Tribe outfielder Bradley Zimmer suffered a setback in his months-long rehab from mid-summer shoulder surgery, reports MLB.com’s Mandy Bell. The former top prospect felt a side twinge as he attempted a throw to home, the next apparent step in an estimated eight-to-twelve month rehabilitation process. The already-nebulous timetable has been thrown further into the fog, with no concrete return date set for the 26-year-old. Zimmer’s MLB debut, after a banner minor-league career, was inauspicious at best: in 446 plate appearances the lefty boasts just a .237/.300/.370 (75 wRC+) line, with a particularly ugly 38.6% strikeout rate in limited action last season. The wide-open Indian outfield is still mostly up for grabs – per Bell, reports have thus far been positive on the recently-signed Carlos Gonzalez, who’ll soon make his way to Triple-A Columbus once their season begins.
- Orioles Rule 5 pick Richie Martin is likely to see “extended” action at short for the club, writes Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com. The 24-year-old Martin was left unprotected by Oakland after uneven minor-league performances since 2015 debut, but the O’s have neither the talent nor the desire to usurp the former first-rounder in the near future. Drew Jackson, another Rule 5 pick who’s been long lauded for his glove, if not his bat, figures to fill the utility role for the club in the early season. Neither player had played an inning above the Double-A level before yesterday, though the club obviously has every incentive to see each premature rise through (both players would have to be returned to their previous organizations if removed from the 25-man roster at any point this season).