Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jason Kipnis will open the season on the 10-day injured list, per Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com. It’s disappointing but not surprising news for Lindor, who’s working back from the right calf strain he suffered in early February. Kipnis is also dealing with a right calf strain, one that has forced the Indians to shut him down for seven to 10 days. Lindor’s absence will leave shortstop to the unheralded Eric Stamets, a 27-year-old with no major league experience. while Max Moroff could fill in for Kipnis. However, the Indians are in the market for second base help, according to Hoynes, who names free agent Brad Miller as a possibility. Miller opted out of his contract with the Dodgers on Thursday.
More from the majors’ Central divisions…
- Having demoted Ian Happ to the minors on Saturday, the Cubs are looking for a center fielder via the trade and waiver markets, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Additionally, the Cubs remain in the market for depth at catcher, Levine relays (Twitter links). Happ had been the Cubs’ projected season-opening starter in center field, but that role could now go to Albert Almora Jr. Meanwhile, lacking an experienced backstop behind Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini, the Cubs have prioritized the position in recent months. They came up short in attempts to sign Brian McCann and Martin Maldonado dating back to the offseason.
- More on the Cubs, who announced that they’ve assigned infielder Cristhian Adames to minor league camp. The recipient of a minors deal in January, Adames had been competing for a place on the Cubs’ bench prior to his demotion. He made a case for a roster spot by slashing a stellar .386/.440/.705 with three home runs in 44 exhibition at-bats, though the 27-year-old hasn’t been nearly as successful in meaningful major league action. Adames combined for 343 PAs as a Rockie from 2014-17 and hit an unsightly .206/.283/.278 with a pair of homers.
- Righty Jimmy Nelson, still on the mend from a September 2017 surgery to repair both labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder, felt “some elbow soreness” after throwing in a side game Thursday, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. The club still believes Nelson will begin his AAA rehab stint on schedule, per McCalvy, but it’s nonetheless a concerning development for the one-time Brewer ace. Milwaukee set its early-season rotation yesterday, with the high-upside Corbin Burnes/Freddy Peralta/Brandon Woodruff trio bookended by the iffy combination of Jhoulys Chacin and Zach Davies, whom the club seem higher on.
- Royals lefty Danny Duffy told Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com this week he’d “love” to shift to a relief role eventually. For now, though, Duffy remains a starter. “We’ve had discussions, but they haven’t gone further than that. As long as I’m helping the team in some capacity, that’s all I want and that’s all they want,” said Duffy, who’s likely to start the season on the IL because of shoulder tightness. Shoulder issues were also a problem last year for Duffy, who didn’t take the mound past Sept. 4. It was an underwhelming season before that for Duffy, as the 30-year-old only managed a 4.88 ERA/4.70 FIP with 8.19 K/9, 4.06 BB/9 and a 35.4 percent groundball rate over 155 innings. Still, given the success Duffy has had as a starter (which helped him net a five-year, $65MM extension in January 2017), it’s an eye-opener that he’s so willing to change roles. Duffy has thrived in 34 2/3 frames as a reliever, though, having registered a 2.08 ERA/2.02 FIP with 11/42 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.