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NEOSI Indians Spring Training Roundup – Wednesday March 7th 2018

** The Indians are playing their first night game of the spring tonight, taking on the Chicago Cubs, and count manager Terry Francona as one that loves the team playing under the lights in the spring.

“I love it, I actually kinds wished we had more,” Francona said Wednesday of playing a night game. “I actually like some night games, I think it’s good, I like it.”

** One player who got off early in the night affair with the Cubs was catcher Yan Gomes, who slammed the teams’ third grand slam of the spring, and it was a no doubt about it shot.

** Who will be back in the leadoff spot was another topic for manager Terry Francona on Wednesday, and one player who might get some more time leading off in 2018 is that of Francisco Lindor.

Last season Lindor led the AL in at-bats with 651, and hit .273 with a whopping 33 homers and 89 runs batted in, numbers not normally seen by a leadoff hitter.

“Frankie really liked it,” Francona said of Lindor hitting first. “When you have a guy that is that much of an impact player, that really enjoys it, you can’t just let guys hit where they want, but when your better players are in a spot where they are comfortable, that to me makes sense.”

Jason Kipnis, who has hit the cover off the ball this spring thus far, also is a candidate to leadoff for the Indians this season, a spot he’s found himself in the last few seasons.

** Paul Hoynes at Cleveland.com wrote a piece today on Lonnie Chisenhall, who could be entering his final season with the Indians. The former third baseman has nicely made the shift to the outfield to fill a need, and last season his injury was a blow that really hurt the Indians late in the year, and he went 0-for-5 in the ALDS eventual loss to New York.

“It could be my last year here,” Chisenhall said. “I’d hate to not end it on a good note. We’re coming in focused on winning the final game of the season. That’s going to be the big talk. It’s going to be our outward focus as a team. If we do things right, collectively, we’ll be fine.”

Last season Chisenhall hit .288 with 12 homers and 53 RBI, and was very good in clutch situations early in the year. He right now looks to be the starter in right field to start the season, and could be playing for greener pastures if things don’t work out with the Tribe.

** Jim Callis at MLB.com is checking out each and every club in the Majors, writing about the best prospects for every team, and today he got a chance to chat about the Indians and some of their top prospects.

Among those mentioned are Bradley Zimmer, Francisco Mejia, Bobby Bradley and Yu-Cheng Chang. Check out the video at the link above to see what Callis had to say about the Tribe farm system and prospects.

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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