Indians' prospect Lindor shines in 4-2 win over Reds
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Francisco Lindor's time is coming. Maybe soon.
The top prospect in Cleveland's organization, Lindor got two hits and showed off his glove Wednesday as the Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 in a Cactus League exhibition.
The 21-year-old Lindor rose to Triple-A last year and the smooth shortstop will likely begin the season in the minors. However, it may not be long before he's in Cleveland on a more permanent basis. Lindor singled twice, made a leaping catch to take away a hit and turned a slow roller in the infield grass into an easy out.
Not a bad spring debut for the polished and poised Lindor, who certainly acts as if he belongs in the big leagues.
''I feel a lot more comfortable, relaxed,'' Lindor said, comparing how he felt in camp a year ago. ''Last year it was something I was trying to learn. This year I am learning, but last year I was trying to get to know the guys who I didn't know. In a way, I was trying to prove myself the first time in a big-league camp. I know what I have to do and go out there and continue working, continue to be the best player and learn so that when I go to the big leagues I can help the Indians win.''
The Indians won't rush Lindor. Because of how well starting shortstop Jose Ramirez played last season, the club can afford to be patient with Lindor - and all their minor leaguers.
''We're not trying to develop guys to get to Cleveland,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''We're trying to get guys to Cleveland that can help us win.''
Another Indians prospect, Carlos Moncrief, had four hits and scored twice as Cleveland bounced back after being thumped 10-0 by their southern Ohio neighbors in the exhibition opener on Tuesday.
Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton homered leading off the first against Cleveland's Josh Tomlin, who is competing with four others for the No. 5 starter's job.
Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani struck out two in two innings as he tries to lock down a rotation spot. The right-hander was acquired in December in the trade that sent starter Matt Latos to Florida.
Reds: Manager Bryan Price was pleased with DeSclafani, who showed good life on his fastball.
''He was great,'' Price said. ''He attacked the zone. You're going to get hit down here, so you want someone who throws strikes. You can teach a guy to pitch but you want them to have command.''
Indians: Tomlin gave up two runs and was followed to the mound by LHP T.J. House, another of the pitchers in the mix for final starter's vacancy. House pitched two perfect innings.
''Really good,'' Francona said of House's outing. ''He continues to pitch down with a lot of movement. He's going to get a ton of groundballs, but he also gets some swing and miss because he gets below their barrels so much.''
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey is scheduled to throw his third bullpen on Thursday as he recovers from offseason surgery on his forearm. Bailey threw 27 pitches without pain in his last session. Bailey, who is unlikely to pitch in at least the first series of the season, will throw two more bullpens before progressing to live batting practice, then to exhibition appearances.
Indians: Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is the latest player to succumb to a stomach bug that's made its way around camp. Kluber pitched a simulated game Tuesday and is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Saturday with three innings against the Dodgers. Francona, who watched Kluber's workout, isn't sure if the right-hander's schedule will be altered by his sickness.
Reds: Johnny Cueto, a 20-game winner last season, makes his first start of the spring. The right-hander is in the final year of his contract and has had talks with management about an extension. Cueto hopes to stay with the Reds, but the club may not be able to afford him.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer, who will begin the season with a spot in Cleveland's rotation, is expected to pitch two innings as the Reds and Indians play for the straight third day. All-Star OF Michael Brantley will play for the first time after being slowed by a stiff back.