DETROIT — Francisco Lindor can do just about everything he needs to on the diamond, and he's nearing the final hurdle before he can appear in minor-league games.
Lindor has been rehabbing from a high ankle sprain he sustained just before the start of the regular season while working his way back from a calf strain that cost him several weeks in spring training. He was originally expected to be down for 7-to-10 days before beginning a running program but has made positive progress.
Lindor said this week he's able to do everything in the field. The next steps involve upping the intensity and volume to the point at which he can appear in rehab assignments and, eventually, get back in the Indians lineup. Lindor has been with the team in Detroit working on the field before games.
According to president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, there's still no specific target date for Lindor's return, but the progress has been coming.
"Frankie continues to make really good progress each day," Antonetti said. "Today he’ll go out and he’ll run, not only straight ahead, but he’ll do some turns and run around the infield dirt. He’s at the point of being able to do everything baseball-wise, from taking ground balls to taking batting practice. It’s just a question of those more aggressive movements and turns. That’s the next step in his progression."
Once Lindor is able to make cuts and run well enough that re-aggravating the injury isn't a concern, he can appear in rehab assignments in the minors. But even when that happens, there isn't a set window of time he will need before he can be added to the active roster.
There are still a number of variables that might alter his exact return date, but the day is drawing nearer, which is very good news for an Indians team that has been missing such a key piece to its lineup.
"There are a couple of elements to it when you look at that," Antonetti said. "One, building up the volume of being on your feet and getting that type of baseball reps. And the other is just getting his timing down. I’m less concerned about Frankie getting his timing down than I am just building up the volume to make sure that we get this injury behind us and keep him healthy for the balance of the season."
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.