GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Indians manager Manny Acta carefully regulated Travis Hafner's playing time down the stretch last season, giving the designated hitter scheduled days off to rest his surgically-repaired right shoulder.
When Opening Day arrives this year, Acta will not be implementing a similar strategy.
"We're not starting that way," Acta said on Sunday morning. "He feels better and he had a better offseason."
Over the final two months of the season, Acta tried not to use Hafner for more than four games in a row. The 33-year-old DH responded well, hitting .302 in the 36 games he played following a stint on the disabled list.
Hafner ended the season batting .278 with 13 home runs, 29 doubles and 50 RBIs in 118 games, representing the most he played in one campaign since suiting up for 152 contests in 2007. That was also the last time Hafner managed at least 20 homers or 100 RBIs in a single tour.
2010 Spring Training - Cleveland Indians
News & Features
- Cabrera back as Indians top Reds in spring finale
- Quote to note
- Asdrubal confident he'll be ready to start Opening Day
- Despite being sent down, Carrasco proud of effort
- Smoke signals
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
This spring, Hafner has only launched one home run, but he has hit at a .283 clip in the 17 Cactus League games he's played. Asked about Hafner's power production, Acta said he had no concerns right now.
"I'm not worried about Hafner," Acta said. "I think if he stays healthy and plays more often than he has in the last couple of years, which I'm anticipating, I think you can expect him to hit 25 home runs and drive in 90-100 runs."
Sizemore continues to make strides
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Grady Sizemore pulled a pitch down the right-field line in the fifth-inning of Saturday's 8-5 loss to the Giants, Indians manager Manny Acta ran up to the dugout railing to watch the center fielder run.
Sizemore legged out a double with ease, sprinting around through first base and pulling up into second without any issues. As far as Acta could tell, Sizemore -- making his way back from microfracture surgery on his left knee -- looked like the player everyone is accustomed to seeing.
"I got up from my seat," Acta said. "[I wanted] to see how he was going to turn it up after he hit first base. He looked pretty normal to me."
The five-inning stint in center field went well as far as Acta was concerned, too. The manager was also pleased to see Sizemore show no reluctance when a diving attempt was needed on a fly ball sent to shallow center in the fifth.
"He did all that without any hesitation," Acta said. "I didn't think he was going to dive at first for that ball, but he did."
There is still no established timetable for Sizemore's return. His next step will likely be playing six or seven innings in a game on Monday. One thing Acta does know is that Sizemore -- headed to the disabled list to open the season -- could be coming to Cleveland soon if he continues to make strong progress.
"It's amazing -- modern medicine," Acta said. "When we got to Spring Training, this guy wasn't even jogging yet. What I've seen him go through over the last five or six weeks, and he's already playing in games, five innings, hitting against Major League pitchers, running the bases, sliding, diving, you name it. He's really worked hard."
Indians expected to finalize roster Monday
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Indians used this weekend to discuss their remaining roster decisions, mulling over the makeup of the bullpen and bench. On Monday, Cleveland will likely reveal its planned Opening Day roster.
"We're in the process of finishing those moves," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Sunday. "I'm anticipating that probably by tomorrow we'll be able to sort through all of those."
Left unsettled are roles within the bullpen, behind the plate and in the infield. The Tribe has three available relief jobs, a backup catching spot and a vacant utility infield job up for grabs. As things currently stand, the Indians still have 37 players, included a few headed to the disabled list, left in camp.
In the bullpen, Justin Germano, Frank Herrmann, Vinnie Pestano and Jess Todd are vying for spots. Behind the dish, Lou Marson is competing against Paul Phillips and Luke Carlin for the backup role. Adam Everett, Jayson Nix and Luis Valbuena are trying to win the utility infield job.
Among those players, Germano, Phillips, Carlin and Everett are in camp as non-roster invitees. The same goes for outfielder Travis Buck and third baseman Jack Hannahan, who will be on the Opening Day roster. Right now, Cleveland's 40-man roster stands at 39, meaning subsequent moves would be required to add more than one of those players.
Another element within the decision-making process will be the fact that Nix is out of Minor League options. That means that he would need to clear waivers, putting him up for grabs to other clubs, before he could be sent to the Minors. Such contract situations are always factored into final decisions.
"As much as you want to get around that, sometimes it's almost impossible," Acta said earlier this week. "Not impossible, but for our own good, for depth and stuff like that, at times it's kind of tough to get around it, because you don't want to take the chance of losing somebody."
Smoke signals Right-hander Joe Smith, who has been sidelined for most of March with a strained upper abdominal muscle, played catch up to a distance of 120 feet on Saturday and plans on throwing off a mound on Monday. Even so, Indians manager Manny Acta said Sunday that Smith did not have time to make a case for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Smith will begin the year on the 15-day disabled list. "We have just a couple of games to go," Acta said. "It'd be impossible [for him to avoid the DL]." ... Indians outfielder Trevor Crowe is currently in Cleveland to have his right shoulder re-evaluated. Crowe has been out all spring with rotator cuff soreness. Surgery has not been ruled out at this point. ... The Pirates announced on Sunday that infielder Josh Rodriguez will be on their Opening Day roster. Pittsburgh plucked Rodriguez from Cleveland's system during December's Rule 5 Draft. As a Rule 5 selection, Rodriguez needs to stay on the Pirates' active roster all season. If Pittsburgh decides to remove him from the roster, the team must first offer him back to Cleveland for a cost of $25,000, which is half the price of selecting a player in the Rule 5 Draft.