TEMPE, Ariz.: Russell Branyan's herniated disc will keep him from opening the season on the active roster.
He will be placed the 15-day disabled list as of March 27, which he an be activated on April 11. That doesn't mean he will be ready at that time.
Matt LaPorta will start the season as the Tribe's first baseman, a move that the club was prepared to make in light of Branyan's condition.
Branyan missed the final month of last season because of the injury and found it difficult to obtain employment over the winter, until the Indians came along with a $2 million, one-year offer.
Branyan is scheduled to take play in minor-league games beginning Tuesday, but he will not be asked to play every day, at least at first.
""It's not just getting him at-bats,'' manager Manny Acta said. ""We could have him get nine at-bats a day in a minor-league game, but he has to be able to hold up for the long haul. That's what we're looking at.''