CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from March 4, 2021.
With the start of the 2021 MLB season now less than a week away, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has announced several roster decisions that will affect the team's Opening Day roster.
Included in the decisions Francona announced on Friday was the news that the following players will not make the Indians' Opening Day roster:
- 1B Bobby Bradley
- OF Bradley Zimmer
- LHP Kyle Nelson
- LHP Anthony Gose
- RHP Blake Parker
Meanwhile, first baseman/outfielder Jake Bauers, infielder Yu Chang, outfielder Ben Gamel and left-handed reliever Oliver Perez have each been informed that they will make the Indians' Opening Day roster.
Cleveland's latest round of roster decisions effectively finalizes its 26-man Opening Day roster, aside from the three pitcher race between Cal Quantrill, Triston McKenzie and Logan Allen for the Indians' final two starting rotation spots. It also brings clarity to two of the more intriguing position battles that have taken place throughout Cleveland's Spring Training, with first base and the Indians' centerfield rotation now settled.
With Bradley set to begin the season in the minor leagues, Bauers secures the starting spot at first base in Cleveland's Opening Day lineup. It's not necessarily a surprise the Indians opted to start the season with Bauers, who is out of Major League options and would have otherwise had to have been designated for assignment.
"If Jake doesn't make the club, it's irreversible," Francona said.
The right-handed hitting Chang could also spend time at first base after taking reps at the position during Spring Training.
Meanwhile, with Zimmer headed to the minors, Gamel will start in centerfield. Acquired in January's trade that sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets, Amed Rosario is also likely to spend time in centerfield this season but is still transitioning to the position after spending his first four seasons in the major leagues as an infielder.
The Indians will open up the 2021 season next Thursday, April 1, when they face the Detroit Tigers on the road.