This is not the news Cleveland Indians fans were hoping for with Spring Training just days away. Cleveland enters 2019 looking for its fourth straight AL Central title. The Indians would also love to return to the ALCS, a place they have not been since making it to the World Series in 2016.
Unfortunately, superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor will be sidelined throughout Spring Training and may even miss Opening Day with a calf injury. The Indians shared the announcement on Twitter:
Francisco Lindor has sustained a right calf strain while preparing for ST. He has started rehab & is expected to return to Major League game activity in 7-to-9 weeks.
Get well soon & keep smiling!
We are confident that everyone will handle this news calmly & rationally … pic.twitter.com/x19uXFClGC
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) February 8, 2019
Francisco Lindor Could Miss Opening Day With Injury
The injury is certainly no reason to panic, but it is sure to cause uneasiness with Cleveland fans. Jose Ramirez did tie Lindor for the team lead with 7.9 bWAR in 2018 after a breakout season. However, there’s no denying the importance of Lindor to this team.
Lindor accounted for 38 home runs, 42 doubles, 25 steals, 129 runs, and 131 OPS+. His 129 runs led all of MLB. Additionally, Lindor served as Cleveland’s lead-off hitter throughout 2018, setting the table consistently for Ramirez, Michael Brantley, and Edwin Encarnacion behind him.
Along with the absence of his bat, Lindor is one of the best defenders in the league at shortstop. Having his glove in the field is a bonus for any pitching staff. While the team could likely deal with his absence for a week or two, any team used to having Lindor’s presence should expect to take a step back without him in the lineup.
Hopefully this is a small speed bump that Lindor is able to get past quickly. Health has not been an issue to this point in his career, appearing in at least 158 games each of the last three seasons.
While Cleveland will once again be heavy favorites in the AL Central, winning the division would be much more difficult without a healthy Lindor. Add in the fact that Lindor is a superstar who loves the game and has an infectious personality, and it is easy to see why Cleveland is hoping he returns to the field sooner rather than later.
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