TEMPE, Ariz.: Manager Terry Francona said the Indians should soon know more about center fielder Michael Bourn’s status for Opening Day, which is holding up several decisions on the 25-man roster.
Bourn resumed running and hitting Friday and is about to start running the bases and agility drills after straining his left hamstring in a March 16 game against the San Francisco Giants. Bourn underwent surgery on that hamstring on Oct. 15.
“I would think in the next day or so we’ll have a much better read on his health as he gets more aggressive,” Francona said of Bourn.
The Indians met for over three hours Sunday morning to hash out impending roster decisions, but many of them hinge on the health of Bourn. Besides affecting center fielder Nyjer Morgan, whether the Indians keep eight in the bullpen and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall may also depend on whether Bourn will be ready when the Indians open the season March 31 at Oakland.
Locked in for the bullpen are closer John Axford, setup men Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw, left-handers Marc Rzepczynski and Josh Outman and right-hander Vinnie Pestano. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco also looks to be headed there. If the Indians want an eighth, it may come down to right-handers Scott Atchison, Blake Wood and C.C. Lee.
Designated hitter Jason Giambi (nondisplaced rib fracture) will likely start the season on the disabled list. The Indians said Giambi is expected to resume hitting this weekend.
Francona said Saturday that if the Indians decide Chisenhall can still develop, serving as a designated hitter twice a week wouldn’t help him. Asked Sunday if there were enough at-bats to keep both third baseman/backup catcher Carlos Santana and Chisenhall, Francona said, “That’s something we’ve discussed. That’s very valid.”
Shortstop Mike Aviles’ defensive play in the fourth inning highlighted the Indians’ 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Aviles shifted between second and first base against the Angels’ left-handed hitter Raul Ibanez, strategy starting pitcher Zach McAllister credited to infield coach Mike Sarbaugh. Aviles leaped high to field the ball, twisted in the air and fired to first baseman Bryan LaHair, his throw barely beating Ibanez.
“The fact that he got to the ball, then he had the presence of mind and the ability to get it on its way and to have an accurate throw, that was really a heckuva play,” Francona said. “He’s a really good player. If you asked him, he would tell you he knows how much we appreciate him.”
McAllister certainly does.
“The only reason I turned was to get out of the way without getting hit,” McAllister said. “It just happened to be right in my view. He made a great play.”
No. 3 starter McAllister went six innings and gave up three runs on six hits. The right-hander struck out three, walked one and hit a batter.
“I felt like I got into a rhythm, was able to locate some pitches pretty well. I felt like it was definitely one of the better ones for me this spring, which is nice especially getting toward the end,” McAllister said. “Today was a good step in the right direction, not working on anything, but pitching the way I expect to pitch, being aggressive and using my fastball a little bit more.”
Francona liked the way McAllister (1-1, 6.06 ERA this spring) got stronger as the game went on.
“He made some mistakes to some pretty good hitters,” Francona said. “Then I thought he threw the ball the way he can and that was very encouraging.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com.