Tito appreciates Lindor's team-first mentality

Tito appreciates Lindor's team-first mentality

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor's surprising power was a focal point during his rookie campaign in 2015, but Lindor led the league in a less-glorified category: sacrifice bunts.

Lindor launched a dozen home runs and had a baker's dozen of bunts last season. In the first inning of Monday's 4-2 win over the Rangers in Goodyear, the switch-hitting shortstop advanced a runner to third with a sacrifice. While manager Terry Francona loves Lindor's team-first mentality, he also wants the shortstop to strike a balance with that approach.

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"That's been one of those where I love the fact that he wants to move runners. I absolutely love it," Francona said. "For a young kid, he understands the importance of us scoring first. At the same time, he's such a good hitter that you don't want him just giving away outs. But, I've been real reluctant to almost even approach him on it, just because I like the idea so much that he's trying to do the right thing.

"And, I think with Frankie, the times that he's doing that, a lot of times it's his first at-bat, when he's not real sure how good he feels or if he can pull the ball or if he knows the pitcher. So, I think he's getting a feel, but we don't want it just to be, 'Runner on second, Frankie gives up an out,' because he's too good."

Other items of note from Tuesday:

• Indians starter Trevor Bauer struck out three and walked none in a four-inning outing in a split-squad tilt against the Royals on Sunday, and bench coach Brad Mills (acting as manager for that game) gave rave reviews to Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Bauer's next outing is scheduled to be in a Minor League game on Friday, while Josh Tomlin (vying for the fifth spot) goes in the Cactus League game that day against Oakland.

"We've got [Bauer] and Tomlin kind of lined up on the same day," Callaway said. "Bauer looked like he was in a pretty good spot, so it'll probably be a good time for him to go down there and get some work and come back up the next time and go five. I heard he was great last time out. He pounded the zone and had 11-, 12-pitch innings. He was really good."

• The Indians have been extremely encouraged by the showing so far by catcher Yan Gomes, who labored through a subpar season while coming back from a right knee injury last year. Through eight Cactus League games, Gomes has hit .350 with three homers and two doubles.

"Whatever you hit in the spring, it doesn't matter," Francona said. "But, you're still seeing a guy that has a short, quick bat. And we've seen Gomer do it, so we know it's there. I think it bodes well. ... He's getting the pitches that he didn't last year. He feels really good. He's confident. And he should be."

• Given that Zach Walters was trying to compete for one of Cleveland's outfield vacancies, it was a little surprising that he was among the first roster reductions on Monday. Walters was optioned to Triple-A Columbus, where he will likely move around the infield and outfield.

"We just had him behind other guys," Francona said. "We just thought that, 'OK, if we made a decision that he was not going to be on the Opening Day roster, let's go ahead.' ... He's got some moving parts in that swing, where he needs some repetition. Getting one at-bat [in a game] wasn't going to help him, so we sent him down."

• Veteran third baseman Juan Uribe left the team Saturday to tend to some visa issues in his native Dominican Republic. As of Tuesday morning, the Indians still did not know when specifically Uribe would rejoin the team in Arizona.

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.