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Franmil Reyes’ tender right ankle and 5 things we learned Monday from Cleveland Indians spring training

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Franmil Reyes says he is determined to log some innings in the outfield for the Indians this spring, but an ankle injury suffered a few weeks ago in the Dominican Republic could slow his progress.

Reyes told reporters Monday via Zoom that he twisted his right ankle while getting reads on fly balls to left during a workout before coming to camp in Goodyear, Arizona. He said the ankle feels good now in batting practice, but live at-bats against a pitcher are another story. The intensity of each swing puts more pressure on his back foot and causes the injury to hurt “a little bit more.”

As of Monday morning, manager Terry Francona had yet to have a 1-on-1 conversation with Reyes, as is customary for all players at the start of camp. But don’t be surprised to see the 6-foot-5 slugger in his familiar role of designated hitter early on.

“I don’t want to get him to get into a position that’s unfair to him, running him back and forth,” Francona said. “My guess is we’ll start him out in the outfield, in right field.”

Francona said he wants to communicate to Reyes that he’s not “pigeon-holed” into a spot at DH because it would open up opportunities for other people. But the skipper acknowledged that he wants to employ his best defensive team.

“And when we go to the National League cities, we’d really like to not have to sit him, especially if he’s swinging the bat really well,” Francona said.

Reyes said he’s open to playing wherever he’s needed in order to help the Indians win, but added that he’s been a right fielder his whole life.

“I’ll honestly do whatever they want me to do,” Reyes said. “If they want to just leave me there at DH, I’m OK with that. If I have to be in the outfield or first base, I know I can do my job.”

Hold on, first base? Video of Reyes taking grounders at first surfaced on social media this offseason. But he admitted he’s not done any serious work there.

“Never,” Reyes said. “Probably a couple ground balls during the season at first base. That’s all.”

1. Never assume they know

As expected, Francona held off on delivering his traditional opening speech for players on Monday, deferring to trainers, clubhouse attendants and other staff who introduced themselves and went over “housekeeping” items.

On Tuesday, he will lay out his expectations for the season and the club’s overarching philosophies for everybody, including those who have already heard it before.

“We’re trying to set the foundation for how we want to attack our challenges in the upcoming year, and if you don’t talk to them about it, it’s probably unfair to expect them to understand what we’re trying to do,” he said.

Waiting until Tuesday also allowed the Indians to space things out and keep everybody socially distanced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sometimes I tend to probably get a little revved up and talk,” Francona said. “But I think it’s better this way and I think it’s respectful to the protocols.”

Lefty Oliver Perez is in camp for what he hopes is his 19th big league season. On Monday he told reporters that if you asked him two or three years ago if he thought he’d play this long, he’d say “there’s no way.”

But when the Indians expressed interest in bringing him back for a fourth season with the club, the 39-year-old Mexico native said he was excited.

“For me that’s really special,” Perez said. “I’ll never lose the passion for the game. Right now, when I go home, I feel like 39, but when I come to the clubhouse I feel like a rookie because I’m really excited to be around everybody and have a good time and just follow our dream being in the big leagues and maybe one day win the World Series.” Read from source….