Edwin Encarnacion signed a free agent contract for $60 million with the Cleveland Indians during the offseason to provide the team with power in the middle of the lineup.
The Indians hope Encarnacion will be the difference for them this season. Last season, the Indians lost to the Chicago Cubs in the seventh and final game of the World Series.
It took time for that to happen during spring training, but on Friday he gave his new team a close up look at what he is capable of.
Encarnacion smacked his first home run of the spring in Cleveland’s final game of the spring to help the Indians beat Arizona 9-4.
Terry Francona the Indians manager said that Encarnacion was ready to start the season. The slugger has hit 34 homes runs or more and knocked in 98 or more runs in each of the last five seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays.
He ended the spring with an average of .311 and 5 doubles across 19 games, but Friday’s home run was his only during the spring.
Yan Gomes hit a home run off Ray as well. Ray will be the starter for Arizona in the fourth game of the season next Thursday versus San Francisco. Gomes had another RBI in the sixth that gave Cleveland a lead of 5-4.
Yandy Diaz added a triple and single for the Indians and knocked in one run. Diaz, who was told on Thursday he would open this season with Cleveland, had a batting average of .459 this spring in his 20 games.
Michael Brantley, an outfielder for the Indians was given Friday off. However, he will be with the Indians to start the season against Texas Monday. That is a great sign for the team as it appears he is finally getting over all the setbacks he had been going through following his shoulder surgery.
In the eight games he appeared during spring training, Brantley has a .385 batting average and his played three straight prior to Friday’s day off.
Brandon Guyer an outfielder for the Indians was hit in the back by a pitch during the sixth inning. He stayed in to play and should be fine for the season opener on Monday.
Cleveland begins the Edwin Encarnacion era on Monday with its season opener against the Texas Rangers on the road in Arlington. Corey Kluber will start on the mound opening day for the Indians for the third consecutive season.