Manfred introduces himself, chats with Indians

MLB Commissioner available to answer players' questions, discusses attendance

Manfred introduces himself, chats with Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred met with the Indians at the team's spring complex on Tuesday morning, giving him the opportunity to introduce himself to the players and engage in a brief discussion about issues facing the game.

"I was just completely transparent with the players about my agenda," Manfred said. "It really is to give players an opportunity to get to know me a little bit since I'm brand new, and to have a conversation with them outside of a situation where we have a big problem, or a Collective Bargaining Agreement, or whatever it is.

"Their whole livelihood is wrapped up in the game, and things that I do can affect their livelihood. And I want them to know who I am."

Following his meeting with the players, Manfred held a short question-and-answer session with reporters. The Commissioner was asked if he had any concerns that -- despite turning in consecutive winning seasons in 2013-14 -- the Indians remained near the bottom in MLB in terms of attendance.

"I think about attendance as an episodic activity," Manfred said. "We all know that Cleveland can give great support to a winning team. After the new stadium was built, they had a tremendous run, great support. I have great faith that the Dolans [ownership], and [team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti], can produce the kind of product on the field that will result in good attendance in Cleveland. Cleveland is a Major League market and it will support a Major League team."

Here are some more notes from Tuesday morning:

• Veteran Nick Swisher, who continues to work his way back from August surgery on both knees, was scheduled to run the bases on Tuesday for the first time this spring. Terry Francona called it a "big step" for Swisher, noting that the medical staff would meet with the manager this week to discuss the next steps in the outfielder's schedule.

Swisher looking to bounce back

• With right-hander Carlos Carrasco slated to work four innings against the Mariners on Thursday, lefty TJ House is scheduled to work four innings in a Minor League game. Zach McAllister (two innings), Nick Maronde (three) and Josh Tomlin (three or four) are also penciled in for Minor League games on Thursday.

• The Indians post first-pitch strike and 1-1 strike leaderboards in the clubhouse each day. Through Monday, lefty Kyle Crockett led the team with a 76-percent (13-for-17) first-pitch strike rate. Two notables on the 1-1 list included leader Bruce Chen (91 percent) and Trevor Bauer (87 percent).

• Indians third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh is currently away from the team to tend to a family matter, but he is expected to rejoin the team on Friday. While Sarbaugh is gone, assistant hitting coach Matt Quatraro will serve as Cleveland's third-base coach.

• No pitchers are scheduled to throw on Wednesday, when the Indians have a scheduled off-day. Cleveland's position players are also not required to be at the complex.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for 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.