Oscar Mercado was diagnosed with a mild left wrist sprain and is officially listed as day-to-day.
“He’ll go out with the team and stretch, get the blood flowing and all that,” manager Terry Francona said. “The first 48-72 hours, [we'll] let this thing calm down, then we’ll start to gradually introduce him to things and see how he reacts to it.”
Mercado, 25, suffered the injury in Thursday’s game while making a diving catch in center field. He’s expected to be an everyday starter for the Tribe this season.
“The hope would be that he reacts well to the rest,” Francona added. “If he doesn’t, they’ll have to slow it down.”
Mercado gave the Indians’ lineup a jolt last season when he was promoted from Triple-A. He posted a .269/.318/.443 slash line in 115 games, finishing with 15 home runs and 54 RBI.
Carlos Carrasco is dealing with elbow inflammation after making his first start of the spring.
“We backed him up a couple days,” Francona said. “Every spring after his first outing, he gets mild elbow inflammation. I would call it more maintenance than anything.”
Carrasco, 32, allowed two runs and three hits on Tuesday against the Angels. He suffered a strained right hip flexor at the start of spring training.
The Indians announced that Shane Bieber would be the Opening Day starter against the Tigers on March 26.
“I just texted him,” Francona said with a laugh when asked about delivering the news. “And then I called him and I said ‘Hey Biebs, I didn’t want you to get caught off guard.’”
Francona said the decision was an obvious one. Bieber continues to impress everyone that has seen him pitch.
“He looks really good,” Francona said. “He looks like he’s getting better. It’s fun to watch.”
Bieber posted a 3.28 ERA in 33 starts last season, finishing with a 15-8 record. He had 259 strikeouts in 214⅓ innings, but his manager sees growth in his 24-year-old ace.
“This is a game of adjustments and the people that can make the adjustments the best usually end up being [on top],” Francona said. “It looks like he’s good, but he’s also making adjustments. He’s a smart kid.”