Don’t expect manager Terry Francona to waste too much time preparing his pitchers in the batting cages. He said Thursday that Cleveland pitchers would do minimal hitting, focusing mostly on bunting — the only thing Francona wants his pitchers doing with a bat in their hands.
The manager said his relief pitchers would not take any batting practice whatsoever.
“If we get into a game where a reliever is hitting, I’ve done something really atrocious,” Francona said. “Saying that, it will probably happen. The risk reward is just not worth it.”
Subjecting his pitchers to potential injury is just one of the reasons Francona says he now favors the designated hitter for both leagues.
“I do (like the DH),” he said. “I’m surprised that I feel that way. I don’t know if I would have years ago. I think especially now, there’s so much interleague, I think it puts teams at disadvantages. If you have a DH that’s a fulltime DH and you’re playing maybe 10 games in a National League city, that’s a pretty big disadvantage.
“I guess I’d like to see it more uniform because I think it’s good. I don’t know that that’s going to happen, but I wish it would. I think that would clean it up a little bit.”
The Indians begin their first Central Division series of the season tonight, hosting the White Sox at 7:05.
Justin Masterson (2-0, 0.69 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing LHP Jose Quintana (0-0, 11.25), while Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1, 6.97) squares off against LHP Chris Sale (1-0, 1.84) on Saturday (4:05 p.m.).
Brett Myers (0-1, 12.19) will start the series finale Sunday (1:05 p.m.) against RHP Jake Peavy (1-1, 5.56).
Outfielder Bryson Miles had a career day in advanced Class A Carolina’s 12-1 win over Wilmington on Wednesday. Miles, a sixth-round draft pick in 2011, went 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and five RBIs. He’s was hitting .421 in five games through Wednesday.
(bullet) Prospects Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin each had three hits, a triple and an RBI in Carolina’s victory.
(bullet) RHP Joe Martinez is off to a good start at Triple-A Columbus, posting a 1.54 ERA over his first two starts. Signed to a minor-league free-agent contract this offseason, Martinez, 30, has allowed just two earned runs over 11 2/3 innings and struck out five.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Jason Kipnis both entered Thursday as the only regulars batting under .200. Cabrera was at .133 (4-for-30) with two homers and three RBIs, while Kipnis was at .138 (4-for-29) with two RBIs and 10 strikeouts. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WMMS 100.7-FM.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.