Righty Clevinger continues standout spring

Likely to begin '16 in Triple-A, but at front of line for callup

Righty Clevinger continues standout spring

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Mike Clevinger is not in the plans for the Indians' rotation come Opening Day, but it's not hard to imagine the pitching prospect reaching the big leagues in the near future.

Clevinger has been one of the standouts over the past few weeks in camp, and his high-energy approach to workouts has carried over into Cactus League play. The hard-throwing right-hander's latest outing consisted of three strikeouts in two shutout innings against the Mariners on Tuesday.

Indians Spring Training info

"You don't let four innings of Spring Training define somebody," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday morning. "But, you also see what you see, and it is kind of exciting."

Top Prospects: Clevinger, CLE

Clevinger, 25, has logged four shutout Cactus League frames so far in his first taste of a Major League Spring Training. The right-hander posted a 2.73 ERA with 145 strikeouts and 40 walks in 158 innings at Double-A Akron last season and is expected to begin this year with Triple-A Columbus. MLB.com ranked Clevinger seventh on its latest Top 30 Indians propects list.

The Indians acquired Clevinger from the Angels in exchange for reliever Vinnie Pestano on Aug. 7, 2014.

"He's fun to watch," Francona said. "You can see that there's so much in there that's probably rapidly coming out. Yeah, it gets exciting. It's another guy that I think we feel like is going to slot in at some point and help us."

Other items of note

Francona indicated that left fielder Michael Brantley (right shoulder) was scheduled to take batting practice in an indoor cage on Wednesday. If everything goes according to plan, Brantley could be cleared to begin taking BP on the field by Friday or Saturday. There is still no clear timetable for Brantley's Cactus League debut.

"For right now, that's kind of the target," Francona said of advancing to hitting on the field by this weekend. "He's so far ahead of probably where most people would be, and I think a lot of that is just attributed to the way he's gone about it."

Francona pointed out that lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who is fighting for a bullpen job as a non-roster invitee, altered his arm angle last season. Gorzelanny not only lowered his arm slot, but the left-hander focused more on sinkers and curveballs, compared to having more of a four-seam and slider mix in previous years.

"That was a lot to work through," Francona said. "He did a little bit in Triple-A and then he came back to the big leagues, and I think he was still trying to fine-tune it. But it was noticeable to us that there was something to like there, and I think he's getting more comfortable. Every time we've seen him so far, he's all around the strike zone, which is really important."

Right-hander Zach McAllister was back at the complex on Wednesday after being sent home the previous few days with flu-like symptoms. McAllister said he was "feeling a lot better" and noted that he lost 10 pounds over the past week. The reliever was scheduled to go through a light workout on Wednesday.

Reliever Shawn Armstrong said he was not too concerned with the right lat tightness that has sidelined him for the past several days. Armstrong indicated he was slated to throw a light bullpen session on Wednesday, and he was hopeful he might be cleared to return to game action by Sunday or Monday.

• The Indians signed 20 of their 24 pre-arbitration players on Wednesday. Only Joey Butler, Erik Gonzalez, Roberto Perez and Giovanni Soto remain unsigned, but Cleveland expects to get their deals done in the next 24 hours. The list of signees includes: Austin Adams, Jesus Aguilar, Abraham Almonte, Cody Anderson, Armstrong, Dylan Baker, Trevor Bauer, Clevinger, Kyle Crockett, TJ House, Francisco Lindor, Ryan Merritt, Shawn Morimando, Tyler Naquin, Dan Otero, Jose Ramirez, James Ramsey, Danny Salazar, Giovanny Urshela and Zach Walters.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.