Indians Announce Roster Moves Heading into Opening Day

The Cleveland Indians announced several roster moves Sunday afternoon in advance of their season opening game with the Boston Red Sox Monday afternoon at Progressive Field.

In need of several spots on the 40-man roster for outfielder Marlon Byrd and reliever Ross Detwiler, the Indians have designated utility man Zach Walters and reliever Giovanni Soto for assignment.

The team has also formally placed outfielders Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall retroactively on the 15-day disabled list to create spots on the 25-man roster for the two players.

Walters and Soto were two candidates from a small group of potential DFA candidates, including first baseman Jesus Aguilar, outfielder Joey Butler, and reliever Austin Adams. They both could remain with the organization and be sent to Triple-A Columbus if they are unclaimed on waivers or not traded or released over the course of the next ten days.

Walters has shown some pop in his bat throughout his professional career, but has struggled to perform at the Major League level while striking out at an uncomfortably high rate. Soto is a valuable commodity in baseball – a left-handed reliever – and could be sought after despite his limited six-game sample size with the Indians last season.

Offseason acquisition Tommy Hunter is still on the club’s 25-man roster, but he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list sometime on Monday. His move is pending the injury status of catcher Roberto Perez, who took a foul tip in Saturday’s spring finale and is going through the concussion protocol. If he is unable to return to action, the club will add catcher Adam Moore to the roster from Columbus. If Perez is able to go, reliever Joba Chamberlain will be added to the 25-man roster in Hunter’s spot.

In either case, another 40-man roster move will need to occur to add Chamberlain or Moore to the club.

Manager Terry Francona indicated today that Perez looked great upon arrival at Progressive Field and was set to go through a full workout Sunday.

Byrd claimed a roster spot after a late signing in the spring with the Indians. In on a minor league contract with a camp invite, he hit .290 with six doubles and a pair of walks in eleven games of action. He is a 14-year veteran and has been a productive right-handed hitting power threat in each of his last three seasons. He will wear the number six for the Indians.

Detwiler came away the victor in the crowded bullpen mix, defeating Kyle Crockett, Joe Thatcher, and Tom Gorzelanny for the title of lefty in Tito’s bullpen. He posted no record in the spring in ten games, finishing with a 3.60 ERA, .229 batting average against, and a 1.00 WHIP. He will wear 48 for the Tribe in 2016.

Photo: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

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