WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- The Indians came into spring camp with the bulk of their roster decisions predetermined. Outfielder Ben Francisco's impressive spring performance, then, couldn't do much to spare him from what happened Thursday morning, when he was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. The Indians knew all along they'd be opening the season with an outfield consisting solely of David Dellucci, Jason Michaels, Grady Sizemore and Franklin Gutierrez.
But Francisco at least gave the Tribe's higher-ups more reason to believe he can compete at this level. He batted .362 with a .617 slugging percentage, .404 on-base percentage, three homers and nine RBIs in 16 Grapefruit League games. Once Dellucci checked out healthy after missing a week of action with left forearm soreness, the fate of Francisco, who won the International League batting crown and made his big league debut last season, was sealed. So, too, is the Tribe's Opening Day roster. All that's left is to tie up some loose ends before Monday's season opener against the White Sox at Progressive Field. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will be placed on the disabled list before the opener. Choo had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in September and will open the year in extended spring camp. He is out of Minor League options and could be ready to join the Indians by the end of May. Non-roster invitee Jason Tyner was reassigned to Minor League camp after Thursday's game. This weekend, the Tribe's other remaining invitees, Andy Gonzalez, Yamid Haad and Brendan Donnelly will be farmed out, as well. Gonzalez and Haad made the trip to Atlanta to serve as extra bodies for a pair of exhibitions against the Braves this weekend, while Donnelly is rehabbing from Tommy John.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.