Play Ball! The Cleveland Indians opened up the 2016 Cactus League season against their in state rivals and Spring Training neighbors the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona on Tuesday afternoon.
The Indians fall 6-5, but it’s good to see the boys of summer back and getting ready to make what hopes to be a run at the American Central Division Championship and hopefully the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1948.
Josh Tomlin made the start for the Indians. Tomlin would allow a run on two hits in his one inning of work. Tomlin is predicted to be the leading candidate for the Indians fifth starter in the rotation when the team breaks camp.
Carlos Santana would get the Indians on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Santana would hit the first home run of the spring at Goodyear Ballpark. Santana’s solo shot to right field would tie the game at one.
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Cincinnati would build a lead as big as 6-2 before the Indians would mount a comeback. The tribe would then score three runs in the seventh inning on a pair of Reds errors, two Cincinnati walks and a wild pitch. Indians infield prospect Eric Staments would hit his first home run of the spring, a solo shot to left to begin the three run Indians rally.
Cleveland had a chance to tale the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, but a tremendous defensive play by Reds outfielder Scott Schebler saved the game for Cincinnati.
Schebler would leap above the wall in left field and take a grand slam home run away from tribe prospect Robbie Grossman.
T.J. House would take the loss for the Indians. House, who is looking for a bounce back season after an injury filled 2015, allowed two earned runs on three hits with a walk and a strike out in two innings of work. Reds starter Jon Moscot picked up the victory. Drew Hayes recorded the save for Cincinnati.
The Indians and Reds will face off against one another again on Wednesday. Cleveland will serve as the visiting team on Wednesday afternoon after being the home team for Tuesday’s Cactus League opener.
Cody Anderson will take to the hill against the Reds as he begins his quest to win the fifth spot in the starting rotation. The tribe’s double play combo of Jason Kipnis and last years American League Rookie of the Year runner up Francisco Lindor will make their 2016 spring training debuts at second base and shortstop respectively.
The Indians also received a bit of good news with All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley. The tribe left fielder continues his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery. Tuesday, Brantley hit moving baseballs for the first time since last November’s surgery.
“Everything is going well, which I’m very thankful for,” Brantley said. “We do a great job of communicating back and forth, how I’m feeling, what we’re going to do today, how certain activities or certain things put stress on my shoulder and how I responded from it.”
“I think the biggest thing is that he’s doing really good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Regardless of whether it’s a week early, in somebody’s estimate a week late, he’s doing really well. That’s the important thing.”
It is unlikely that Brantley will be ready for the Indians regular season opener against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field on April 4. Brantley hopes to be ready to return to the lineup before the original timetable of June.