Thursday brought news that the Cleveland Indians will officially have fans in attendance during the 2021 season.
The good news keeps on coming as fans can finally start talking about actual games again.
This weekend marks the start of Spring Training action as the Indians square off with the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
But even before that point the team is having a scrimmage Saturday.
News dropped this week of the pitchers who will be on the mound both Saturday and Sunday.
The Indians will have a three-inning intrasquad game on Saturday. Pitchers for that: Aaron Civale, Logan Allen, Kyle Nelson and Anthony Gose.
Cal Quantrill, Triston McKenzie, James Karinchak, Bryan Shaw and Heath Hembree are scheduled to pitch vs. the Reds on Sunday.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) February 23, 2021
Saturday’s Probable Pitchers
The Indians are getting right into it with the battles at the end of the rotation and in the bullpen.
Aaron Civale is the only pitcher on Saturday assured a job in the starting rotation.
Logan Allen is trying to stick as the fifth man, but could also be pushed to the bullpen if the team feels that is a role where he can thrive.
Kyle Nelson and Anthony Gose are both trying to fight there way into relief roles.
The likes of Civale, Shane Bieber, and Zach Plesac are guaranteed starting rotation spots.
James Karinchak, Nick Wittgren, and Emmanuel Clase are essentially guaranteed bullpen spots.
After those names it is an open competition to find the best combination of arms to keep the Indians in contention throughout the 2021 season.
"No cookie cutter approach."
James Karinchak describes what he thinks works well with the @Indians' pitching development process. pic.twitter.com/hLGchFVuMn
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) February 26, 2021
The storylines keep on coming with those on the mound Sunday.
Karinchak is the only one listed who seems to have a sure spot on the Opening Day roster.
Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie should make it as well, but there are no guarantees.
Bryan Shaw and Heath Hembree are two fascinating players to keep an eye on throughout Spring Training.
Shaw, of course, spent 2013-2017 with the Indians and was Terry Francona‘s go-to guy out of the bullpen.
He made at least 70 appearances in all five of his seasons with the club and had 15 postseason outings from 2016-2017.
But he remains a polarizing player in the Indians fandom.
Him making the team would be a bit of a surprise after his terrible play the last three seasons.
Shaw posted a 5.61 ERA in two years with the Colorado Rockies and got hammered in limited action with the Seattle Mariners in 2020.
Hembree is also facing an uphill battle.
The 32-year-old spent 2020 with the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.
He combined for a 9.00 ERA in the shortened season and did not look like the same reliever who had consistently posted positive-WAR seasons his entire career.
Both Shaw and Hembree are seeking one more MLB job.
They just have a lot of young competition to take on in order to achieve that goal.
Spring Training is always a time when surprise players shine and make the roster.
‘It all begins Saturday with a scrimmage before the games get underway to wrap up February.
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