Francona’s Thoughts: June 10 vs. White Sox

On Francisco Lindor’s recent struggles:

A: “I think what happened is, and I don’t think by design, but I think he hit some balls out of the ballpark and he got a little bit more in pull mode. And I think the other day, it was funny, because Sarby, they were going through some of his defensive stuff, the alignment. I think it was the Rockies. And Frankie was like, ‘Can you show me mine?’ And he did, and it was very pull oriented. Then, he showed him last year’s, where he was using the whole field. And I think Frankie was like, ‘Whoa, I’ve got to get back to [that].’ Because you see him be on fastballs, but then they’ve thrown some breaking balls in the dirt that he’s really out in front of. And, when you’re trying to use the whole field, you have a much better chance of hitting all the pitches. So, I think that’s helped him a little bit. I think you’ll see he’s too good a hitter not to get hot. And this is probably the lowest he’s been average-wise. That’s pretty good.”

On Lindor’s hitting ability hurting his defensive play:

A: “No, no. Not one bit. I haven’t sen a change in his demeanor or anything. For a young kid, that’s…. and it’s not because he doesn’t care, but he’s really handled it. In a lot of aspects, he’s mature way beyond his years.”

On what Lindor can do to fix his woes at the plate:

A: “I think the biggest thing is just reminding yourself. Remember when Frankie was in Triple-A, when he first got to Triple-A, I think he hit six home runs like right off that bat. And he had gotten into that mode. I think, and it’s not that you’re trying to do something. It’s just you hit one and it’s like you feel good, and you start to go after pitches that need to be hit the other direction, and you still feel good enough where it’s like, ‘I can get that in the air,’ and you get yourself in bad habits. And that’s kind of what happened. So, I think just the idea of being cognizant of it, and he’s such a good hitter that, you watch, it’ll work.”

On Lonnie Chisenhall returning from the disabled list:

A: “It’s amazing, like when he comes back, how his first game or two are always like that’s when he’s hit his home runs or done some damage. It’s nice. Like last night, you’re kind of contemplating, ‘Do we bunt?’ Because we needed a tack-on run, and you let him swing and he rifles one into the corner like that. When guys are sitting in that — whether it’s seven, eight, nine — and they do some damage, boy, it can really make the game different.”

On Chisenhall maturing as a hitter:

A: “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Even last year. In Spring Training last year, he was really struggling to find it, and it was getting to him. And he does seem like a more mature hitter — maybe person, too. I’ve always thought he was a great kid, but I think with time in the league and going through struggles and things like that, I think you do see that with players.”

On Bradley Zimmer’s natural hitting ability:

A: “Yeah, I would say so. That’s fair. Not many guys can run like him. That’s just a fact. He’s so fast and he’s got those long strides. You can tell somebody to go practice all they want. It’s hard to make yourself faster. Maybe a tick, or flexibility, stuff like that, but that’s just God-given. He can fly.”

On Zimmer not trying to do too much:

A: “I thought his maturity last night, that at-bat, that was a great at-bat. To take a walk, especially from 0-2 — that’s not an easy situation. I do think last night, I thought he got a little too aggressive. The one throw, he slipped, and I think it’s because he tried to actually do a little too much. He doesn’t have to. I think a lot of times, with your best throws, they aren’t when you try to throw it as hard as you can, because you end up muscling it a little bit. It’s when you’re about 95 percent. Bradley’s the best at it. It always looks like it’s so easy. The ball ends up where it’s supposed to on one hop. We talk to the outfielders all the time. If our infielders can’t handle the throw, it doesn’t do us any good. We’d much rather have something they can handle than something with a ton of velocity that’s floating around the infield somewhere.”

On Zimmer getting a good jump on the ball in center field:

A: “Very good. Very good. That’s something that we’re really pleased with. He is still learning and he’s a little bit raw and that’s something they really stayed on him about in the minor leagues because he’s kind of inconsistent at it and he’s done a really good job of that here.”

On David Holmberg:

A: “This is going to be our first time facing him. I don’t go back and concern myself with what happened with him three years ago. Our job is to find a way to beat him tonight. However his path is doesn’t really concern me because he’s not our guy. He’s really been tough in small sample sizes. We sat Lonnie and Zim, but Brant and Kip are going to play.”

On Mike Clevinger starting in Triple-A:

A: “Yes. And then he will pitch one of those games of the doubleheader.”

On Danny Salazar potentially pitching the doubleheader as well:

A: “Danny most likely wasn’t going to pitch in that game anyway. I think we had left the door open if he was really doing well. We’ll have another starter for that game that day, too.”

On Tyler Naquin’s comeback from a lower back injury:

A: “He’s had some setbacks, but he’s doing well. The reason he’s here is he’s working with the guys here and he’s supposed to work with them until Monday. They had just asked me, ‘Are you OK if he hits on the field?’ Because he’s a Triple-A guy right now. I was like, ‘Yeah, of course.’ Rather than having to drive down to Columbus to hit. We all know Naq. It works out a little better for him to do it here. He’s getting real close.”

On good drafts correlating with success at the big league level:

A: “Yeah. Well, I would go further and say for every team. But for what you said, and I think you said it correctly, man, we keep these kids coming through, it’s so important. Not just, we have Frankie, we have Zim now, Lonnie’s here, Ramirez, it goes [on]. But even the guys we traded to get Andrew Miller. Shoot, you have to have those guys to [make a trade]. I don’t know what team and I shouldn’t point it out, but there were other teams that wanted Andrew that maybe couldn’t give what we did. There’s a number of ways it helps. I’ll go up there Monday night for a couple hours, because it’s really [fun], because we don’t draft for a while. It’s so much fun, especially nowadays, there’s so much that goes into it. It’s not just talk to the scout, there’s a lot of work that goes into it because there is so many unknowns. It’s not just the first round guys, it’s getting a Cody Allen late in the draft, things like that. It’s fun to watch. I like to go up there just for support, because I know how hard it is, just from the little bit of experience that I have.”

On losing a first round pick by signing Edwin Encarnacion:

A: “That’s not my area, nor does it need to be. I think it would be disrespectful for me to ever voice my opinion in something that guys spend so much time. The one thing I would say is I try to be I think respectful is the right word in not asking our guys to do something that would hurt, like losing that pick. I don’t take that for granted. I know that it’s a big deal. I think we all thought getting Edwin was extremely worth that. But it’s a hard one, for a team like us, we value that a lot.”

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.

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