GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer still has a lengthy road ahead of him, but by all accounts his progress has been positive.

Zimmer underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder last season. He was originally given a lengthy timetable for his return (8-to-12 months), putting his 2019 status in question.

On Friday, Indians manager Terry Francona announced that Zimmer will start the season on the injured list. That much was already known.

The positive aspect of it is that Zimmer has been progressing well and could factor into the Indians’ outfield picture sooner rather than later. Although he still has a lengthy road ahead, he remains a piece of the club’s future and would add a much needed option to an uncertain outfield.

“He’s light-years ahead of where we thought he’d be at this time,” Francona said. “Now, he needs to see that progression going. ... He has done a terrific job of rehabbing. ... We think it makes sense to [keep him in Arizona] in the beginning.”

Zimmer will still have work to do once healthy. He struggled to a .611 OPS last season before being sent to Triple-A Columbus prior to the injury that eventually warranted surgery. And he’ll have some competition as the Indians have a number of left-handed outfielders in the fold, including Leonys Martin, Tyler Naquin and Carlos Gonzalez.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.