GOODYEAR, Ariz. – The present and the future helped guide the Cleveland Indians to their first Cactus League exhibition victory on Saturday, a 8-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark.
New Tribe slugger Edwin Encarnacion made his presence felt immediately with an RBI single in the first inning that scored Jose Ramirez, who doubled as the second batter for the Indians. Encarnacion later ripped another base-hit.
The Indians top prospect, outfielder Bradley Zimmer, enjoyed his Cactus League debut hitting a 3-run homer, with another RBI single giving him 5 RBIs on the day. Zimmer’s 84-year-old grandmother Cathy was on-hand for her grandson’s big day.
Zimmer, who is likely headed to Triple-A to begin the season, is still competing for an outside chance to make the Indians’ Opening Day roster and Tribe manager Terry Francona seemed excited about the young outfielder’s attitude.
“I'm glad. I mean, shoot. I want to see guys go out and compete,” Francona told the media earlier in the day.
Ryan Merritt, Mike Clevinger and Andrew Miller were among some of the pitchers who highlighted the day for the Tribe.
The Indians improved to 1-0 on the Cactus League season, while the Reds fell to 0-2.
- Nick Camino