Clevinger among seven sent to Minor Leagues

Five ranked Indians pitching prospects moved to increase workloads

Clevinger among seven sent to Minor Leagues

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians made their first roster reductions of the spring, moving seven players prior to Monday's game against the Rangers.

Cleveland optioned right-handed pitcher Mike Clevinger, left-handers Ryan Merritt and Shawn Morimando and utility player Zach Walters to Triple-A Columbus while optioning righty Dylan Baker to Double-A Akron and assigning righties Adam Plutko and Will Roberts to Minor League camp.

"In general, we told the group of Clevinger, Merritt, Morimando, Baker and Plutko that they're all starters," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And we told them ... basically, that their seasons aren't going to be defined by their three or four Spring Training innings.

"Part of the reason they got sent out today is that they've got to get stretched out."

All five in that group impressed Francona and the rest of Cleveland's coaching staff. Clevinger is ranked No. 7 among Indians prospects by MLBPipeline.com. Plutko is No. 15, Morimando is No. 16, Baker is No. 25 and Merritt is No. 28.

"I think, as a group, those five pitchers ... it's rare, I think, when you get the five least-experienced guys that we never once had to say anything about work or routines," Francona said.

"They were really solid. And my guess is that when they go to the other side, that will continue."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.