The thin Cleveland Indians outfield has taken another substantial hit and for the second time in the first half of the 2016 calendar, it comes via a performance enhancing drug suspension.
At the start of spring training, it was potential starting center fielder Abraham Almonte who got flagged for the use of a banned substance and was lost for 80 games. Now, it is a guy whose opportunity to continue his MLB career came in part because of that same PED suspension, Marlon Byrd, who has reportedly failed a second PED test in his career.
The news, which is never exactly a positive report to receive, comes at the worst time for the Indians, who remain without starting left fielder Michael Brantley and are in the midst of a tough homestand. First reported via Twitter by Cleveland Scene’s Vince Grzegorek just before noon on June 1, it would be the second PED suspension for Byrd in his career and would knock him out for a full season’s worth of games, potentially spelling the end of the 38-year-old’s career. MLB on Fox reporter Ken Rosenthal indicated in a tweet that Byrd did not appeal the ruling, per sources.
Everything continues to be bigger for Texas as the Rangers pounded Indians starter Josh Tomlin for eight early runs on the way to an easy 9-2 win in Cleveland on Monday night.
The Rangers scored early and they scored often in pacing starter Derek Holland to a big lead. Just two batters into the game, they had the lead as Jurickson Profar singled to left off of Tomlin and Ian Desmond homered the same direction.
Texas added another in the second after a single from Elvis Andrus and a double from northeast Ohio native Ryan Rua put two in scoring position with one out. Bryan Holaday lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Andrus, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
Down 4-0 heading into the bottom of the third and coming off of another rough weekend after dropping the final two games of their series with the Minnesota Twins, things were not looking good for the Cleveland Indians on Monday night in their series opener against the Cincinnati Reds.
Four runs in the third, three more in the fourth, and five more runs in the sixth would change that story as the Indians used a season-high 19 hits to plate 15 runs and rocked the Reds, 15-6.
Progressive Field turned into a bandbox as the Tribe and the Twins combined to hit six home runs, but it was a two-run double from Marlon Byrd over the head of center fielder Danny Santana that won the game for the Tribe in the bottom of the eighth.
It started out rough for Cleveland as Josh Tomlin finally succumbed to his home run allowing tendencies, giving up three in the first three innings. In the first, it was Miguel Sano who hit a towering 464 foot solo shot halfway up the left field bleachers. Byung-ho Park struck next, leading off the second with a solo homer of his own to left-center. Then in the third, Park hit another, this time a two-run shot following a Juan Uribe error, for the first multi-homer game of his career.
The Cleveland Indians have a roster move to make on Saturday, and once again, the answer is not a clear one, at least to those of us on the outside of the clubhouse looking in.
When the Indians added several new players to the 25-man and 40-man rosters either during or at the end of spring training (Juan Uribe, Joba Chamberlain, Ross Detwiler, Marlon Byrd), Cleveland lost some of the flexibility that it would have had to send players with options back and forth to Columbus throughout the season. While the additions of the veterans to the lineup card may have made for a better roster to bring to Progressive Field to start the year, it also cost them several young players, including prospects like Tony Wolters, Giovanni Soto, James Ramsey, and Zach Walters.
This has led to several difficult decisions for the organization when looking to clear players from the 15-day disabled list. Now, the Indians are staring down a similar difficult decision as they need to create a 25-man spot for Cody Anderson, who will return from his stint at Triple-A to the Cleveland rotation on Saturday to make the start against the Kansas City Royals.
The problem is that there is once again no clear cut answer as to what roster move to make.
The Indians lineup on the day had a different look to it, as both Rajai Davis and Jose Ramirez got the night off and manager Terry Francona opted for the interesting move of placing designated hitter Carlos Santana in the leadoff spot. The move, long screamed for by a handful of on-base percentage minded individuals, paid off immediately with the first batter of the night.
Santana worked the count full against Verlander before pulling a solo shot over the fence in right field for the early 1-0 Indians lead. It would be the last of the scoring until the sixth.
A fantastic quality start from Danny Salazar was supported by six runs of offense and three home runs as the Cleveland Indians took the rubber match from the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday afternoon by a 6-0 final.
Salazar was once again a force on the mound for the Tribe as he dueled with Rays starter Chris Archer. The game was scoreless until the middle innings, when the Indians finally did some damage against their former pitching prospect after threatening in the first few innings.
While the time table on Brantley is still unclear, he reported to Columbus with the Indians in Chicago over the weekend to work out with the club. He likely did not get as much work in as the Indians would have liked because the Triple-A Clippers had each of their first three games cancelled on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday by the bad weather in the area.
The same problem affected Chisenhall, who was the closer of the two set to return. The Tribe’s primary right fielder was set to begin his rehab assignment with the team on Thursday, but those weather issues kept him out of the lineup and unable to get in the action that the Indians wanted to see from their long-time lefty.
The Cleveland Indians did not spend this past offseason making the splashiest of moves. They were not throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at a Jason Heyward or Justin Upton or trading away their great pitching depth for an All-Star power hitter like Todd Frazier.
However, the Tribe did not sit idly by, either. The team added some solid veterans to a core group that is in its prime. Mike Napoli, Marlon Byrd, Rajai Davis and Juan Uribe were not the biggest names on the market this past winter, but they can help. Each has had success throughout their careers. All have postseason and big-game experience that most of Cleveland’s core group has precious little of.
Guiding a club whose longer-tenured players have seen just one postseason game, the 2013 Wild Card loss, through uncharted, late-season waters would come later and that is putting the cart before the horse. First, the new veteran group needs to help the Tribe get off to a better start than last season.
You’re a Major League Baseball veteran, hoping to hang on in the game. It’s been a month since other players around the league have started reporting to their respective spring training homes. Concerns about your future in your profession undoubtedly have to sneak in.
Marlon Byrd wasn’t done yet.
While his cohorts were soaking up the sun in Arizona and Florida in preparation for Cactus and Grapefruit League games, Byrd was working out with players at Pierce College, a community college in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, until the opportunity to come to Goodyear presented itself to the 38-year-old.
Major League Baseball’s regular season has returned and in a strange situation, the Cleveland Indians will pair up against the last team that they faced in 2015, the Boston Red Sox, and will do so again on their own home field at the renovated Progressive Field.
After an unexpectedly mild winter, it is little surprise that as the Indians arrived to town, ice, snow, and cold temperatures struck the northeast Ohio region, once again leading many to question the logic of games in Cleveland in early April. And no, a dome is not part of any rumored future renovations to the city’s gem on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
The Indians, 81-80 last season, made several significant and underrated moves in the offseason, bringing in first baseman Mike Napoli, third baseman Juan Uribe, and outfielders Rajai Davis and Marlon Byrd, all of whom will see regular time in the lineup as starters. Star in the making Francisco Lindor begins his first full season on the roster and will tandem up the middle with All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis. Rookie Tyler Naquin captured an outfield spot in camp when the center field position opened up after the suspension of Abraham Almonte. The Cleveland pitching staff is being touted as one of the best in the game and their bullpen has received an offseason face lift.
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.