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Prospects shine: Seven things we learned Friday as Cleveland Indians beat Giants, 7-6
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Seven things we learned Friday before during and after the Indians beat San Francisco, 7-6, at Scottsdale Stadium.

 

1. Prospects on parade.

Bradley Zimmer, the Indians’ No.1 pick in 2014, made the most of his start in center field. He made a sliding catch in the second inning, hit two doubles, scored twice and drove in a run.

Zimmer robbed Jarrett Parker of a hit in the second. He doubled against left-hander Madison Bumgarner with two out in the fourth to score Daniel Robertson for the first run. Then he followed Robertson across the plate on Nellie Rodriguez’s single to cut San Francisco’s lead to 3-2.

In the sixth, Zimmer hit a leadoff double and came around to score on Erik Gonzalez’s single. After Gonzalez advanced on a wild pitch, pinch-hitter Francisco Mejia singled through the right side for a 4-3 lead.

Mejia and Zimmer entered spring training as the Indians’ No.1 and No.2 prospects, according to Baseball America. Gonzalez was ranked No.8.

“Zimmer had a good game,” said manager Terry Francona. “His speed on the bases, like first to home, is probably about as good as anybody. You see the guys who can really run like Rajai Davis. Zimmer probably isn’t that guy, but his strides around the bases are beautiful.”

At 6-5 and 220 pounds Zimmer is hard to miss in center.

“I think he’s going to be a good center fielder,” said Francona. “He just needs repetition. That’s why Greg Allen and him are playing so much.”

 

2. Slapping leather.

Catcher Erik Kratz and Rodriguez combined on a nice play in the third. Denard Span started the inning with a bunt to the third-base side of the plate. Kratz pounced on the ball and made a one-hop throw to first that Rodriguez dug out of the dirt.

“That’s about as pretty a play as you’ll see,” said Francona.

Rodriguez went 2-for-5 with two RBI. Last year he hit 26 homers at Class AA Akron.

 

3. On the mound.

Trevor Bauer allowed his first runs of the spring in the second when Brandon Belt and Jimmy Rollins homered to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. Those were the only runs Bauer allowed in four innings.

“He didn’t get a fastball in enough to Belt and he left a split (up) to Rollins,” said Francona. “The other three innings I thought he was pretty good. He broke out his breaking ball a few times and threw a couple really good ones.”

Adam Plutko finished the game with two interesting innings for the save. He gave up a run in the eighth to make it a 7-6 game. Then he put runners on first and third to start the ninth before striking out the side.

“He worked himself into a bind, but it was still fun to watch him execute some pitches once he got into a bind,” said Francona. “You could see his competitiveness. That’s a learning experience.

“It was the ninth inning. He was revved up and he executed some pitches. It will be good for him.”

Plutko allowed one run on five hits in two innings. He struck out five as well.

 

4. Just be yourself.

Brandon Guyer, playing in just his third Cactus League game, was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. Guyer has led the AL for the last three years in getting hit by pitches. Last year he led the big leagues by being hit 31 times.

Guyer had company Friday. In the seventh, San Francisco’s Sam Coonrod hit Zimmer and Robertson. Tribe reliever Josh Martin returned the favor by hitting Aaron Hill in the seventh.

 

5. Quite a catch.

Kratz and Adam Moore, two veteran catchers in camp on minor league deals, enjoyed their day in the Scottsdale sunshine.

While Kratz made the good play in the third, Moore made the Indians a winner with a two-run double in the eighth. Moore, who caught at Class AAA Columbus last year, is hitting .333 (4-for-12) with one homer and six RBI this spring.

 

6. Testing, testing, testing.

Prospect Yandy Diaz, recovering from a right groin injury, was scheduled to run the bases Friday. He has not played since the Indians played Oakland on March 4.

“He did the same thing last year,” said Francona. “He got caught in between a little bit going into second base against Oakland.”

 

7. Center of all things.

Austin Jackson will make his second start in center field Saturday against Kansas City. Jackson made his spring training debut Thursday, hitting a home run in his second at-bat against the Angels.

Jackson’s 2016 season ended in June with the White Sox after he underwent surgery on his left knee.

“He feels really good,” said Francona. “The guys in the training room rave about his professionalism, which we knew coming in. But it’s nice to hear it.”

Tyler Naquin, who homered Thursday, didn’t make the trip to Scottsdale and might not play Saturday against Kansas City lefty Jason Vargas.

“We wanted to get him a couple of at-bats Thursday,” said Francona. “He’s been swinging the bat so well we didn’t want him to go four or five days without facing live pitching.”

Naquin was sidelined until Thursday with a bruised right foot. He fouled a ball off it on Sunday.

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