Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor has returned to the field, but he still has work to do before he can get back into a full game or be cleared for all activities.
Lindor participated in a minor-league game and played a few innings on Wednesday. He was only cleared to jog to first base and played “controlled defense” at shortstop, with the Indians wanting to take things slowly with their potential MVP candidate.
Lindor had missed all of spring training up with a strained right calf that he sustained while working out in Orlando shortly before camp began. His original timetable of 7-to-9 weeks to return to Major League game activity put his Opening Day status in danger.
“We magnify the importance of Opening Day and obviously that’s on everybody’s mind, but that’s not what we’re concerned about,” Indians general manager Mike Chernoff told reporters in Goodyear, Ariz.
Lindor has done well to this point in terms of his expected timetable, but his Opening Day prospects remain murky. The timing of his first Cactus League game is also unclear.
“We have to build him up volume-wise to where he can be out at his position for the full nine innings,” Chernoff said. “I don’t know how long that’s going to take, but we want to make sure he’s cleared all of his benchmarks before he’s in games.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.