GOODYEAR, Ariz.— Slowly and sensibly, Francisco Lindor is working his way back onto the field.
The Indians’ three-time All-Star shortstop was scheduled to play in a controlled minor league game on Wednesday, a major step in his recovery from a calf strain that has sidelined him for weeks.
Lindor was expected to bat three times and play in the field. The Indians remain hopeful that he will be ready for the club’s March 28 opener at Minnesota.
“With any sort of injury like that, there is no set date or set time table,” Indians general manager Mike Chernoff said. “We magnify the importance of opening day, and obviously, that’s on everyone’s mind, but that’s not what we’re concerned about. We’re concerned about making sure Frankie is completely healthy and in a really good spot to have a full season of performance, so we are taking it day to day.”
One of baseball’s best all-around players, Lindor got hurt while working out in Florida early last month. He has been limited at spring training to batting practice and stationary fielding.
In Wednesday’s game, he was to be allowed to move laterally but not extensively. If he hits the ball, he would jog to first.
“He has been doing really well; he continues to progress in all of his activities,” Chernoff said. “He’s been out there a lot and we’ll continue to get him out there more. But we have to build him up volume-wise to where he can be at his position for the full nine innings. So, I don’t know how long that’s going to take, but I want to make sure he’s cleared all of those benchmarks before he’s in games.'”
Lindor has been pleased with his progress.
“I am doing nearly everything, the only thing I haven’t done is run the bases,” he said. “I feel good, happy where I am right now. We are getting closer to the season, but I am still in a good spot, so I am excited.”
Lindor hit .277 last season and set career-highs with 38 homers and 92 RBIs. He tied for the AL lead with 129 runs.