Chisenhall to Debut on DL; Indians Roster Nearly Finalized

When the Cleveland Indians take the field next Monday against the Boston Red Sox, it looks as though they will be missing each of their starting corner outfielders in their Opening Day lineup from Progressive Field.

Such was the tone out of Goodyear, Arizona this morning as the Indians announced that right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist injury, separate from the right forearm issue that has plagued him throughout the spring. In addition, Michael Brantley still appears likely to end up on the DL to start the season, although no formal move had been made by the club at the time of this post.

With Chisenhall and Brantley sidelined, it opened the door for outfielders Marlon Byrd and Collin Cowgill, who were both informed that, barring unforeseen circumstances between now and Opening Day, that each will be with the club to open the season.

The signing of Byrd, who many thought could be a platoon mate of Chisenhall’s over the course of the year if he made the club, becomes all the more important now. Despite his late arrival to the Cleveland organization this offseason, he has performed well in five games this spring, hitting .467 in 15 at bats. Five of his seven hits have been doubles.

Cowgill only recently started to hit the ball (four hits in his last five games after just two through his first 14 games) and may have made the club given his defensive flexibility in the outfield. Through Monday morning, he was hitting .143 in 19 games with a pair of homers and nine RBI.

The Indians informed outfield candidate Robbie Grossman that he would not make the club.

Detwiler - Rob Tringali/Getty Images
Detwiler – Rob Tringali/Getty Images

The bullpen situation became a bit more clear as the team optioned left-hander Kyle Crockett to Triple-A Columbus Monday. The move had become expected after Sunday’s announcement that veteran lefty Ross Detwiler had won a spot in the bullpen and manager Terry Francona had previously stated that the outfield issues would likely prevent the Tribe from carrying two southpaws in the bullpen in the early going.

Dan Otero was also told that, barring circumstances not currently known, he would be in the Tribe’s bullpen to start the season.

Tom Gorzelanny, who was informed that he would not be on the roster to start the season, will remain with the organization and will continue to pitch in the Major League camp, prior to his season-opening assignment, per the Indians. Joe Thatcher, the other lefty competition in the spring camp, was released from his minor league contract on Sunday, as was outfielder Will Venable.

Several players who have made the squad that were signed to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training will need to be added to the 40-man roster. Such is the case for outfielder Byrd and relievers Joba Chamberlain and Detwiler. The Indians’ 40-man roster is currently full.

Candidates for a designation for assignment and potential trade or release would include Austin Adams, Jesus Aguilar, Joey Butler, and Zach Walters, among others.

The roster is currently (and tentatively) composed of the following players:

POSITION 25-MAN (26) 40-MAN (17)
CATCHER Yan Gomes
Roberto Perez
INFIELD Mike Napoli Jesus Aguilar
Carlos Santana Erik Gonzalez
Jason Kipnis Giovanny Urshela
Francisco Lindor
Juan Uribe
Jose Ramirez
OUTFIELD Michael Brantley * Joey Butler
Marlon Byrd # James Ramsey
Collin Cowgill Zach Walters
Rajai Davis Lonnie Chisenhall ^
Tyler Naquin
STARTING PITCHERS Corey Kluber Dylan Baker
Carlos Carrasco Mike Clevinger
Danny Salazar T.J. House
Trevor Bauer Ryan Merritt
Cody Anderson Shawn Morimando
Josh Tomlin
RELIEF PITCHERS Cody Allen Austin Adams
Bryan Shaw Shawn Armstrong
Zach McAllister Kyle Crockett
Jeff Manship Tommy Hunter *
Joba Chamberlain # Giovanni Soto
Dan Otero
Ross Detwiler #

* expected to be placed retroactively on the disabled list prior to the start of the season
^ 15-day disabled list
# not on 40-man roster

In the event that Brantley does land on the disabled list as expected, the Indians could keep the loser of the still yet-to-be-decided fifth starter spot (between Cody Anderson or Josh Tomlin) on the roster as a relief option. If they instead elect a different path, they could utilize Jose Ramirez as needed in an outfield role and take an extra bullpen arm, which could come into play with the statement about Gorzelanny’s status with the club.

While there is now some certainty about the roster, questions still remain with April 4 quickly around the corner.

Photo: Rob Tringali/Getty Images

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