Guyer glad to platoon, play where, when needed

Guyer glad to platoon, play where, when needed

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Brandon Guyer believes he can be more than a platoon player, but he understands his role on the Indians' roster. Given his career track record against left-handed pitching, the outfielder will mostly be used as a weapon against southpaws in the upcoming season.

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"I figured it was going to be like that when I got traded over," said Guyer, who was acquired from Tampa Bay before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. "It's been like that a lot for me over the past couple years. It wasn't anything new, but [manager Terry Francona] puts people in the best position to succeed."

Last season, Guyer hit .336 with a 1.021 OPS in 122 at-bats against left-handers. His batting average against lefties ranked sixth in the American League, and his .464 on-base percentage was first. Given that right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall is used most often against right-handed pitchers, Guyer's role will likely consist of being the platoon partner at that position.

Guyer's RBI double

Francona said he does plan on mixing in Guyer against right-handers when it makes sense, too.

"My guess is that there will be times during the season that he plays against righties also," Francona said. "One, it's good for him. Two, to let a guy be that dangerous against lefties, I think there's a certain amount of righties that he needs to face. Through the course of guys getting nicked up, things like that, it will happen."

The bulk of Guyer's defensive experience has come between left and right field, though he has some limited exposure to center field as well. Francona has indicated that Guyer will see time in center this spring, so Cleveland can have a better sense of how realistic an option he is as a backup for that spot.

"I love it out there," Guyer said. "We'll see what happens with that. Hey, anywhere they want me to play, whenever, I'm down for it."

Other items of note from Monday
• Francona said right-hander Mike Clevinger "kind of got the whole book thrown at him" during his rookie season a year ago. Clevinger spent time in the Minors, started and relieved in the Majors and pitched in the postseason for the Tribe. Francona noted that Clevinger (a candidate for the bullpen, but more likely ticketed for the Triple-A Columbus rotation) arrived this spring with a much stronger lower half.

Clevinger's sweet relief

• Second baseman Jason Kipnis did not participate in fielding drills during Monday morning's workout. Francona noted that the Indians' medical and training staff has incorporated a shoulder-strengthening program into Kipnis' spring routine, and he was given permission to have a lighter workload on Monday.

• Left fielder Michael Brantley, who is working his way back from August surgery on his right biceps, stepped into the batter's box on Monday and tracked pitches during Joseph Colon's live batting practice session. Brantley has advanced to soft toss in his hitting program, and was not permitted to swing on the field.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.