Crockett exits with tight hamstring after facing one batter

Crockett exits with tight hamstring after facing one batter

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona enjoyed the luxury of having three left-handers in his bullpen down the stretch last season. One of his most reliable options was youngster Kyle Crockett, who is a leading candidate for a spot in the Opening Day relief corps.

Crockett's path to the Opening Day roster hit a slight snag on Friday night, when he exited the Tribe's 11-4 loss to the Angels due to right hamstring tightness. Cleveland announced that Crockett is considered day to day with the injury.

In the top of the eighth inning, Crockett took over for the Tribe, walked Marc Krauss, and was promptly met on the mound by Francona and head athletic trainer James Quinlan. Following a brief chat on the field, Crockett exited the contest with Quinlan and was replaced by reliever Dustin Molleken.

"He just had a tight hammy," Francona said ."He really wanted to stay in, but I didn't think that made a whole lot of sense. He's just tight. There's nothing that's [serious], but he looked like he was altering his delivery a little bit. We don't need him to do that."

In 43 appearances for the Indians last season, the 23-year-old Crockett spun a 1.80 ERA with 28 strikeouts against eight walks in 30 innings. When he was promoted from Double-A Akron to the Majors on May 16, Crockett became the first player selected by any team in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft to reach the big leagues.

After their combined performance last season, lefties Marc Rzepczynski, Nick Hagadone and Crockett headed into this spring as the top three lefty candidates for Francona's bullpen. Cleveland is also taking a closer look at veteran southpaw Scott Downs, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.