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03/25/11 7:24 PM ET

Hannahan named Indians' third baseman

PHOENIX -- The Indians added third baseman Jack Hannahan over the offseason mainly for his reputation as a sound defender. Hannahan did not disappoint this spring, but he also showed signs of an improved offsensive approach.

On Friday, the Indians rewarded Hannahan's strong spring effort by naming him the club's starting third baseman for Opening Day.

"Jack had a great camp," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "He did a very good job of seizing an opportunity that was in front of him with the playing time that he got. He demonstrated his consistency at third base and his defensive ability over there, as well as putting together some quailty at-bats.

"He really did his part to earn that opportunity."

Hannahan's chances of cracking the Opening Day roster improved when Jason Donald -- the favorite for the third-base role at the onset of Spring Training -- had his left hand broken by a pitch on March 5. Donald remains sidelined and there is currently no established timetable for his return.

With Donald out, Cleveland took a close look at Hannahan, who came into camp on a Minor League contract. He displayed solid defense at all four infield positions and has hit .386 with a .481 on-base percentage through 18 Cactus League games.

Beyond the news of Hannahan's role, Antonetti also noted that veteran Orlando Cabrera would likely open this season as Cleveland's starting second baseman. Cabrera -- signed in February on a one-year contract -- has hit .265 in 13 Cactus League games this spring.

Mathis, Reyes shipped to Minor League camp

PHOENIX -- Doug Mathis arrived at the Indians' complex on Friday morning and went through his typical routine. Shortly after getting in full uniform, though, the reliever was called into manager Manny Acta's office.

A few minutes later, Mathis was changing back into his street clothes, unsure of his next move. Cleveland reassigned Mathis and righty Anthony Reyes to Minor League camp, removing them from the ongoing pitching staff competition.

"They just didn't have a spot for me," Mathis said. "It really isn't that surprising based on how I threw the ball."

Mathis came into camp on a Minor League contract after spending parts of the past three seasons with the Rangers. In eight Cactus League appearances for the Tribe this spring, the right-hander had a 2.89 ERA, but he also surrendered nine hits and 10 walks over 9 1/3 innings.

With Mathis out of the picture, the Indians are left with Joe Smith, Justin Germano, Vinnie Pestano, Frank Herrmann and Jess Todd fighting for three available spots. General manager Chris Antonetti said on Friday that Smith (strained abdominal muscle) would likely begin the season on the disabled list.

Like Mathis, Germano is not on Cleveland's 40-man roster, so a subsequent transaction would be needed in order to add him to the Opening Day squad. Mathis' contract also includes an out clause that gives the pitcher the option of becoming a free agent before Opening Day.

"I've got like four or five more days to kind of figure things out," Mathis said. "I'll take today and kind of think about it. I have the option to come back to Minor League camp here. I'll think about that. We'll see what happens. I don't really know right now."

Buck, Duncan to be on Opening Day roster

PHOENIX -- The Indians believe they reeled in Travis Buck at the right time. Plagued by a variety of health woes over the past few years with Oakland, Buck has looked healthy this spring for Cleveland, putting on an offensive show in the batter's box in the process.

For his effort, Buck has earned a spot on Cleveland's Opening Day roster. On Friday morning, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti announced that, barring an unforeseen development, Buck and Shelley Duncan will be included on the Tribe's bench to start the season.

"I think we got him at the right time," Indians manager Manny Acta said of Buck. "I think this guy is a Major League player. He's athletic. He can play all three outfield [spots], which helps tremendously.

"He's had some great at-bats against right, left, it doesn't matter who's been out there, and he's shown some power and discipline at the plate. To me, he's a big leaguer."

Through 17 games this spring, all Buck has done is hit .420 with four home runs, five doubles and 12 RBIs for the Indians. He signed a Minor League contract with Cleveland in December and saw his chances of making the Opening Day roster increase in light of injuries to Trevor Crowe (right rotator cuff) and Grady Sizemore (left knee).

Duncan, 31, will serve as a part-time outfielder, first baseman and right-handed-hitting designated hitter off the bench for the Tribe. Last season, Duncan hit .231 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 85 games for the Indians. This spring, he has hit .270 through 15 Cactus League games.

"Shelley hadn't done anything not to be on the club," Acta said. "Plus, he's a good character in our clubhouse and he brings passion that we like."

With Buck and Duncan tentatively in the plans for the Opening Day roster, the Indians informed Chad Huffman and Jordan Brown that they will likely be headed to the Minor Leagues to begin the year. For now, Huffman and Brown will remain in big league camp as alternatives. Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Friday.

Smoke signals

The Indians accepted right-hander Jose Flores back from the Mariners for a cost of $25,000 on Friday. Flores was selected by Seattle in December's Rule 5 Draft, but did not make the Mariners' Opening Day roster. Flores pitched for Class A Lake County last season in Cleveland's system. ... The Indians might be on the verge of receiving infielder Josh Rodriguez back from the Pirates. Rodriguez was selected by Pittsburgh in the Rule 5 Draft, but does not appear to be in the team's Opening Day plans. ... The Indians will announce their remaining decisions in the next few days. Left unsettled is the backup catching role, three bullpen spots and the utility infielder job off the bench. Lou Marson, Paul Phillips and Luke Carlin are in the mix for the reserve catching role. Jayson Nix, Adam Everett and Luis Valbuena remain in the hunt for the infield job. Relievers still in camp include Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, Justin Germano, Frank Herrmann and Jess Todd. ... Cleveland's 40-man roster currently stands at 39. If the Tribe wants to add more than one non-roster player to the roster, the club needs to make subsequent transactions by Thursday. For example, Jack Hannahan and Travis Buck are both in the plans for Opening Day, but neither player is currently on the 40-man roster. ... Following Friday's 7-4 loss to the Brewers, the Indians re-assigned infielder Cord Phelps to Minor League camp. "[It's good to] know we have a guy at Triple-A that could probably come up here and help us out down the road," Indians manager Manny Acta said.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.