Byrd to compete for job in Tribe's crowded OF

Francona cognizant of players already in camp, says there are 'no guarantees' for newcomer

Byrd to compete for job in Tribe's crowded OF

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona understands the dynamic of a big league clubhouse. He knows that the addition of veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd this late in Spring Training might upset a few people inside the locker room.

Under the circumstances, Francona was not ready to discuss what kind of role Byrd could fill with the Indians during the manager's morning meeting with the media on Friday. For now, Francona limited his comments to noting that Byrd -- signed to a non-roster Minor League contract -- will be given a chance to compete for an outfield job.

Tribe brings Byrd into outfield mix on Minor League pact

"I want to make sure that I'm very respectful to the guys that have been here," Francona said, "because I think that's important. I can see, when he walks in the door, that there will be some guys -- the non-roster guys or whatever -- that are like, 'Whoa.' I get that, so I want to be very respectful of them also.

"They've been here, and we haven't had to urge one guy to work harder in this camp, so I just want to remember that. We'll just see where this goes."

Indians sign Byrd to Minors deal

Byrd, 38, passed a physical with the Tribe on Thursday and was in uniform, wearing No. 6, for the team's morning workout on Friday. Francona said that he would give the veteran a couple days of workouts before potentially starting him as the designated hitter for Sunday's game against the Mariners.

Spring Training information

Right now, the Indians are trying to sort through a complicated outfield situation.

Left fielder Michael Brantley is slated to make his Cactus League debut on Saturday and is trying to be ready in time for Opening Day, following November surgery on his right shoulder. Rajai Davis and Lonnie Chisenhall are expected to be on the roster, and prospect Tyler Naquin is making a strong bid this spring to handle center field. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler are also on the 40-man roster, but each have a Minor League option.

Brantley to make Cactus debut Saturday

Byrd joins Robbie Grossman, Shane Robinson and Will Venable among the non-roster invitees.

Over the past three seasons, Byrd has hit .268 with a .782 OPS and an average of 24 homers, 29 doubles and 82 RBIs per year. He has performed well against left-handers, making him a possible platoon partner for Chisenhall in right field. It is possible that the Indians also see Byrd as a potential fit for some limited at-bats against right-handed pitching in the outfield or at DH.

"We were really honest with Marlon that there are no guarantees," Francona said. "Just like everybody else, we'll try to put him in a position where we can see the best of him. That's going to be quicker than most of the guys. He says he's in game shape. I do think, when you get into camp, we'll try to gauge that as much as we can.

"Making decisions in Spring Training are hard enough. It's challenging, but without having to lose a younger player on a roster spot, I think [signing Byrd was] worth us doing."

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.