GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Even though he's led big-league clubs through 14 seasons, Indians manager Terry Francona says he still gets jitters when talking to the team before it starts spring training.
''I wanted to say how I felt,'' the two-time World Series-winning manager said Tuesday as the full team worked out together for the first time. ''That's not the easiest thing sometimes and you only get one chance.''
That anxiousness is common for Cleveland these days as the Indians follow up on consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2000 and 2001. Following an offseason where AL Central rivals made plenty of moves, the Indians made few.
The lack of changes pleased outfielder Michael Brantley, who finished third in MVP voting last season.
''We have a great group of guys in this locker room that got better last year from the starting pitchers to our position players. The key is staying healthy,'' said Brantley, the first Indians player since Kenny Lofton in 1995 to have 200 hits in a season.
If the Indians are to make the postseason for the second time in three years under Francona, they also need key players to bounce back offensively.
Jason Kipnis, an All-Star in 2013 who hit .284, hit .240 last season while battling oblique and hamstring injuries. The second baseman has lost weight coming into camp and should be ready for the start of Cactus League games next week. He also hurt his right ring finger during the offseason.
Nick Swisher had double knee surgery in August but was taking batting practice on the field. He is doing some running and is working his way toward doing position-specific drills next week.
Brandon Moss, who was acquired from Oakland during the winter meetings, could be ready for games by mid-March as he comes back from offseason surgery to repair his right labrum.
''Whenever they are healthy then we will be glad to get him on the field and not before. They understand wanting to get out there but when they play we want them to produce, and they understand that,'' Francona said.
The Indians also need to play better defensively and get their rotation back into late-season form. Led by AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Cleveland had the AL's best rotation ERA the last two months of the 2014 season. The pitchers did not get much help, though, as the Indians led the majors with 116 errors.
The batting order also appears to be mostly set except for right field and designated hitter. A lot of that depends on the health of Swisher and Moss, while David Murphy will also contend for one of the two spots before the April 6 opener at Houston.
Francona said despite the questions, he has a renewed confidence in his club. In November, Francona signed a two-year extension that keeps him in Cleveland at least through 2018 with options for 2019 and 2020.
''There's no reason to hide how I feel about these guys or the organization. Does that ensure we are going to win 100 games? No,'' he said. ''But it's a nice way to come to work and because our work is so much more than work. It is our passion.''