GOODYEAR, Ariz. — The Tribe is just a few days away from the season opener and have some answers out of training camp regarding the opening day roster.
Manager Terry Francona announced several opening day roster decisions on Friday.
Pitcher Blake Parker was informed that he will not make the opening day roster, as was center fielder Bradley Zimmer, pitcher and outfielder Anthony Gose, pitcher Kyle Nelson, and first baseman Bobby Bradley.
Bradley has had an impressive Spring Training, leading some to believe he would be the opening day first baseman, but Jake Bauers will now assume that role for the Tribe.
Bauers, left-handed pitcher Oliver Pérez and infielder Yu Chang were informed that they will be on the Tribe’s opening day roster.
Francona said the decision to open with Bauers at first was made partly because “if Jake doesn’t make the club, it’s irreversible.”
The manager said they spoke with Bradley about the decision, telling him he “did a really good job” but they “just felt like the reversible and irreversible decisions—Jake’s done enough, we need to see him play.”
“This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Bobby.” Francona said.
When it comes to center field, with Zimmer not on the opening day roster, Francona said Ben Gamel will see time at the position after learning he had made the team.
“We want Zim to have a chance to be more consistent and we think April can be a pretty cruel month in Ohio and we want to give him the best chance to succeed and for that we think we need to send him to the alternate site,” Francona said. “If Zim can reach his potential, there’s a really good center fielder in there.”
Francona said that Gamel is a “real reliable” center fielder who had some “really good at bats this spring” and will compete hard this season.
The Tribe skipper said that he's hopeful Amed Rosario will also see some time in center field throughout the season.
On the infield front, Francona said Chang will get at-bats but he’s not sure about all of the ways that will happen throughout the season.
“He looked like one of our better hitters this spring. He's worked really hard and I just know when I see him at the plate he always looks dangerous to me and that’s a good feeling,” Francona said. “He’s taken to first pretty well so that gives us the option there and we know he can play all over the infield.”
Francona said Chang has some things to work on at first but he’s “encouraged” at how Chang has played the position through camp.
Cleveland starts its season on the road on April 1 against the Detroit Tigers for a three-game series before heading home for Opening Day at Progressive Field on April 5 against the Kansas City royals.