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Indians news and notes: Michael Brantley homers in his spring training debut

Two weeks and one day until Opening Day

Maybe, just maybe, Michael Brantley will start on Opening Day
Maybe, just maybe, Michael Brantley will start on Opening Day
Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Last Night's Game: Indians 10, Cubs 5

Indians Michael Brantley HRs in win vs. Cubs |

As if just appearing in a spring training game wasn't good enough, Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer and threw out a player at the plate.

The good news didn't stop there, as Corey Kluber held a potent Cubs lineup to one run in five innings, striking out five. If you're interested in the left-handed reliever battle, Kyle Crockett pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Of concern was Jeff Manship allowing three runs in the eighth inning.

Tribe News

An Opening Day return no longer out of the question: A timeline of Michael Brantley's recovery timetable |

Michael Brantley may actually be able to play on Opening Day, something that only the most optimistic would have thought when it was announced that he had shoulder surgery this winter.

Cleveland Indians Scribbles from Goodyear as Francona talks Bauer, Brantley, Uribe and Urshela -- Terry Pluto |

From Pluto's notes, a couple bits of roster information: Marlon Byrd, who signed on Friday, will be in the lineup today as the DH, and Juan Uribe may not be play in a game for a couple more days, as he was delayed in his return from the Dominican Republic.

Yan Gomes draws strength from MMA fighters in comeback season for Cleveland Indians |

After finishing the season strong, Gomes almost immediately started his off-season hitting program.

Indians send Shawn Armstrong to Triple-A |

Armstrong could have made this club, but was sidelined with lat tightness. He'll start the season in Columbus.

MLB News

Jacoby Ellsbury OK after hit on wrist by pitch |

The Yankees dodge a bullet.

Torii Hunter on (Data-Free) Outfield Defense | FanGraphs Baseball

Well, not really, since Hunter used tendencies to shift his spot in the outfield depending on the player or the pitcher. Spray charts have been around for quite a while, and today's "data" is just a version of that. But I'd rather examine this part of the interview than parse definitions:

"To me, if there’s a guy who the shift works on, he shouldn’t be in the big leagues. You never would shift on me, because you know what? I’m going to hit it to right field. If you can’t do that, you don’t belong here. But if a guy can’t go the other way, and you’re an outfielder, you better know that."

Baseball is very much a game of adjustments, and players who can't make teams pay for radical shifts aren't making the appropriate adjustments. Even if it's laying down an occasional bunt to beat a shift.