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Indians Bulking Up with Minor-League Deals

 

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The Cleveland Indians continue to bulk-up their roster as they are just weeks away from starting Spring Training in Goodyear, Arizona. Last week, the Tribe signed outfielder Ben Francisco to a Minor-League contract and extended an invitation to the former Indian to Goodyear to compete for a bench spot on this year’s club. Francisco was drafted by the Indians in the fifth round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft and spent parts of three seasons with the Tribe until he was dealt alongside of Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.

The trade restocked the Indians with Lou Marson and Carlos Carrasco, both expected to make the Tribe’s Opening Day roster, and Jason Donald who was sent to Cincinnati with Shin-Soo Choo this summer and figures to be the Reds’ utility man this year. Last season, Francisco spent time with the Blue Jays, Astros and Rays and hit .240 with 4 homers and 15 RBIs in 52 games.

Francisco joins several players who will be in camp on Minor-League deals hoping to make an impact and make the Tribe’s roster this season. The Indians are also bringing Yan Gomez to camp to compete for either a catcher’s spot, or a super-utility spot as the youngster can play the outfield and infield as well as backstop. Gomez played for the Blue Jays’ organization last season, spending time with both Triple-A Las Vegas and Toronto in 2012.

Ryan Raburn will also compete for a spot on the ball club this Spring, he signed a Minor-League deal on Monday and will look to become a utility man for the Tribe being able to field all four infield positions, as well as the outfield.

The Indians have also extended invitations to five players from their Minor-League system, including slugging prospect Jesus Aguilar, right-handers Preston Guilmet, lefty Giovanni Soto and catcher Roberto Perez. Aguilar went .280 for Advanced Single-A Carolina and Double-A Akron last season, hitting 15 homers, 31 doubles and 71 RBIs in 127 games and was selected to Major-League Baseball’s Futures Game during the All-Star break.

 

By Robert Gonzalez
Cleveland Indians Correspondent

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