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Tribe News & Notes 3/31/14: Opening Day Edition

Predictions abound while Terry Francona finalizes the Opening Day lineup card.

It's finally here
It's finally here
Jared Wickerham

Opening Day. Enough said. The whole, long winter has all been building up to this. No more speculation. No more unanswered questions. It's finally here - my Monday morning news & notes. Enjoy:

Indians news

Francona still sorting out opening day lineup | - With Michael Bourn starting the season on the DL, the leadoff spot is up for grabs. Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher have been mentioned as potential, if unconventional, candidates, but Nyjer Morgan is expected to be the "regular" leadoff man. The one sure thing in the Indians lineup is that nothing is for sure - Tito loves his versatility.

Indians sign catcher Kottaras to minor league deal | Let's Go Tribe - ICYMI, former Royals catcher George Kottaras has a "seemingly good chance" of making the major league team soon to back up Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana. Kottaras OPS'd .719 in 46 games with the Royals last year. Jason analyzes the roster implications of the move.

Beyond the Box Score previews the Indians | Michael Nestel - Lots of nice graphics in this one, looking at many of the team's pitchers mostly.

Indians gambling more than a few million by not extending Masterson | Did The Tribe Win Last Night? - Masterson may not be the team's best player, but contention without him is improbable. DTTWLN argues that $3.5 million per year saved by not extending Masterson could hurt a lot more than it helps in the long run.

Terry Pluto's 20 predictions for 2014 | - A handful of fun little tidbits, but I was hoping for something a ittle more from Pluto. Maybe I've just been spoiled by the LGT community predictions. There's nothing bold here, or at least nothing as bold as Pluto's 2013 prediction that Mark Reynolds would hit 30 homers. Wahoo's On First also has a staff roundup of their 2014 predictions, which seem pretty optimistic. My favorite line:

Carlos Santana will be the team’s best hitter, regardless of where he plays, as he kinda has been since he came up to the big leagues in 2010. Cleveland fans will still think he sucks.

Top 20 moments in Progressive Field history: Ervin Santana's no-no | Did The Tribe Win Last Night? - The first in a series of highlights commemorating twenty years of Indians baseball in Progressive/Jacobs Field. Santana still managed to give up a run but needed just 105 pitches to shut down the Indians.

Around the league

Celebrating Opening Day | Sports on Earth - SoE looks at the top story for each team going into Opening Day. Jason Giambi and his gold thong inexplicably make the cut for the Indians.

Know your competition: 2014 AL Central Preview | It's Pronounced "Lajaway" - Not quite as in-depth as the individual previews here at LGT, but it's always nice to get a different perspective.

Dodgers fall to Padres on their second official Opening Day | CBS Sport- Hyun-Jin Ryu, starting in place of Clayton Kershaw - who was just placed on the 15 day DL for back "discomfort" - threw seven scoreless innings, but the Padres rallied late to win 3-1.

A's coach Mike Gallego takes video of water backup at O.Co Coliseum | - The season hasn't started yet, and there's already flooding in Oakland. What an embarrassment.

Blue Jays place closer Janssen on DL | Twitter (John Lott) - A left abdominal/lower back strain will sideline Casey Janssen for at least 15 days.