Tyler Naquin is back after spending the start of the season on the injured list.
The Cleveland Indians are finally getting some outfield help in the form of the recovered Tyler Naquin. Naquin, 29, has been one of the most underutilized guys during the Terry Francona era. A career .283 hitter, Naquin can never seem to crack a fulltime spot with the team despite playing good defense and bringing a solid bat the lineup each and every year. If given enough at-bats, Naquin could hit a team close to 20 home runs and 60+ RBI.
With his return from injury, it’s clear what the outfield should look like. Oscar Mercado and Domingo Santana have been largely ineffective and Jordan Luplow finally got his first hit, in 23 at-bats. The bench should be in their future, with Bradley Zimmer in one corner, Naquin in the other, and surprise outfielder, Delino DeShields Jr. in center field.
Maybe getting Santana out of the lineup for a few days will help him get his head on right but it’s clear Mercado isn’t cutting it at the moment. Any other season and the thought of sending him to Triple-A would be the call to make. This isn’t a season with 162 games, and there’s just no reason to send him anywhere when there are no games to be played. Plus, there’s no one better than him waiting to be inserted. So why bother?
The good news is, as opposed to two weeks ago, Francisco Lindor and Franmil Reyes are finally hitting again. Jose Ramirez may have fallen back to Earth some but he’s as consistent as ever, all while Cesar Hernadez continues to impress.
If Naquin can hit his usual .280-something, Zimmer can continue to work his way back and DeShields hits above his career average, then the Indians may actually make some noise after all.
In other news, the Indians also;
– Recalled LHP Logan Allen