FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor celebrates as he round the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Houston Astros during the third inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, in Houston. The Indians All-Star shortstop will likely miss the start of the season with a strained right calf. Lindor, one of baseball's best all-around players, sustained the injury recently while working out in Orlando, Florida. He was checked Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Mark Schickendantz, who confirmed a moderate sprain. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Indians star Lindor may miss season start with calf strain

February 08, 2019 - 12:55 pm

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians may start the season without their best player.

All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor will miss spring training camp — and maybe the start of the season — with a strained right calf. It's an injury that is concerning to the AL Central champions, who have had an interesting offseason.

One of baseball's top all-around players, Lindor recently got hurt while working out in Orlando, Florida. He was checked Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic and team physician Mark Shickendantz confirmed a moderate sprain.

The Indians, who have overhauled their roster this winter, anticipate him missing up to nine weeks, which would place his return sometime in early April. Cleveland opens the regular season on March 28 in Minnesota.

The loss of Lindor for any period is a major blow to the three-time defending division champions. The 25-year-old is an offensive force, elite defensive player and will be counted on to provide more leadership this season following the departures of outfielder Michael Brantley and catcher Yan Gomes.

A three-time All-Star, Lindor batted .277 last season with 38 homers, 92 RBIs and tied for the league lead with 129 runs.

Lindor's talent and charisma have endeared him to Indians fans, whose loyalty may be challenged this season with the club's roster makeover.

The team tried to soothe them with a playful posting about Lindor's injury on Twitter.

"Get well soon & keep smiling!" the team wrote. "We are confident that everyone will handle this news calmly & rationally ..."

If Lindor isn't ready for opening day, Indians manager Terry Francona has some options at shortstop. One choice could be sliding over All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez, who has played 109 games at short.

Last month, Lindor signed a one-year $10.55 million contract for 2019 to avoid salary arbitration with the Indians. He has previously declined to sign a long-term deal with the club.

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