The Cleveland Indians have informed a trio of veterans that they have made the opening day roster “barring the unforeseen.” Marlon Byrd, Dan Otero and Collin Cowgill will head north at the end of spring training.
The club also announced today that outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with left wrist impingement, lefty Kyle Crockett was optioned to Triple-A Columbus, informed outfielder Robbie Grossman he will not make the season opening roster, and that lefty Tom Gorzelanny will remain with the organization and will return to Major League camp tomorrow prior to season-opening assignment.
“That was probably our toughest last decision with our position players,” said manager Terry Francona about Grossman. “He has the opportunity to go explore options, as he should. We also told him that we hope he finds something and if he doesn’t he is more than welcome to come back with us.”
Byrd, 38, is a 14-year veteran and the Indians will be his 10th major league team having previously played for the Phillies, Nationals, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, Mets, Pirates, Reds and Giants. A lifetime .275 hitter, the Boynton Beach, FL native hit a blistering .467 this spring going 7-15. Taken in the 10th round of the 1999 draft, Byrd made the All Star roster in 2010 with the Cubs when he enjoyed one of his finest seasons with a .293 average and a career best 170 hits.
“You look at his track record; I think he was averaging what, 23 home runs a year? That’s pretty significant,” Francona said. “You just want to make sure when a guy is getting to be that age that they’re not really slowing down or if they’ve lost something. When he’s on the bases he’s moving really well. He’s getting to fastballs, he’s a smart hitter that can do some damage and he’s not just a guy hitting lefties. Even later in his career his splits are so minimal, he’s had production against righties and lefties.”
Otero, 31, was acquired by the Tribe on December 18, 2015 when his contract was purchased from the Phillies. Cowgill, 29, was purchased from the Angels on December 2, 2015.
Crockett, a 24-year old southpaw, appeared in eight games this spring with no record, a 2.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. A former fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft, the Newport News, VA native has a career mark of 4-1 over 74 games, all in relief.
“I thought [Crockett] actually had a pretty good camp,” Francona said. “An improved breaking ball, it was certainly stronger, all the things you kind of look for in younger players. But I also think, going into April, with the off days, sometimes having a guy be able to pitch regularly, knowing that you’re going to pitch like you do in triple-A, will benefit him more. I think that this will work out for him.”
Gorzelanny was informed two days ago that he would not make the opening day roster.
“He’s coming back tomorrow and will stay in major league camp with us, which we’re thrilled about. We know we’re not going to go through the season with 12 pitchers. It’s impossible. You don’t like to admit that, but it’s the reality of baseball. Having some depth is really necessary.”
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