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NEOSI Indians Spring Training Roundup – Thursday March 15th 2018

** The Indians lost Thursday afternoon to the Reds 10-6 in Goodyear, dropping their mark this spring to 12-8-2. The team was led on offense by Francisco Lindor, who hit his 4th homers of the spring in the 6th inning. Eric Haase hit a three-run blast for the Indians in the 8th inning of the setback.

It was a rough day for Nick Goody, who came in for spot starter Evan Marshall (1 run 2 innings), as he allowed five runs in just 0.1 innings. Mike Clevinger was scheduled to start but was a late scratch due to illness and will start Sunday vs. Seattle in Peoria.

Jason Kipnis continued his torrid spring as he was 2-for-3, and is now hitting .471 this spring.

** Friday will see the Indians take on the Oakland A’s in Mesa, AZ at 1:05 PM MST/4:05 PM EDT. The Tribe will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound against righty Daniel Mengden for Oakland.

** Francisco Lindor spent some of the offseason putting a focus on his defense, and today over at Indians.com Jordan Basitan wrote about it.

Two years ago, when Cleveland won the first of its two straight division titles and reached the World Series, Lindor picked up both Gold and Platinum Glove awards for his prowess in the field. In 1,364 2/3 innings at shortstop, Lindor collected 17 Defensive Runs Saved and posted a 20.7 UZR/150. Last year, the shortstop had five DRS in 1,377 innings and a 6.6 UZR/150.

According Inside Edge Fielding via Fangraphs, Lindor coverted 26.9 percent of remote plays (those with a 1-10 percent chance of being turned into outs) in 26 chances in ’16. Last year, that percentage dropped to 9.1 percent in 33 opportunities. His even plays (40-60 percent) conversion rate slipped to 28.6 percent (seven chances) in ’17, compared to 69.2 percent (13 chances) in ’16.

“I feel like last year I wasn’t where I should’ve been,” Lindor said. “I didn’t make more errors, and it’s not that I didn’t get to the balls I usually get. I felt like I was getting to baseballs — I just wasn’t getting the out. I feel like this year I want to help the pitchers even more. They’re working as hard as they can and they’re trying to get every batter out. And I need to help them.”

** Michael Brantley seems to be getting closer to getting to the big league roster, as he took the batters box as a DH on Wednesday with a pair of at bats, and today he went through drills in the outfield.

“He’s doing terrific,” manager Terry Francona told reporters in Goodyear, Ariz. “We’re just looking to see how he responds to what he’s done.”

This is the third straight spring Brantley has raced the clock to get ready for opening day. He didn’t make it in 2016 while recovering from right shoulder surgery. He made it in 2017 while recovering from a second operation on his right shoulder. Now he’s once again trying to make up for lost time.

** The fact that the NCAA Tourney started today wasn’t long among Indians players and coaches, and per usual a number of them filled out their brackets. Here’s a tweet highlighting who some of them selected to win it all.

Click HERE to see the entire brackets for members of the Tribe

** We leave you today with a 6 minute video of MLB.com’s ‘Top Indians Moments from the 2017 Season’ – Enjoy!

Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE.

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