Francona happier to play doubleheader today instead of later

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona talks with reporters before spring training baseball practice in Goodyear, Ariz., Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014.

Paul Sancya/AP

OAKLAND — With the first day-night doubleheader taking place at the O.co Coliseum today, Terry Francona is happy that it is happening today instead of somewhere on down the line. With the Indians having four rainouts in April last year, Francona knows the backlog that can take place certain times of the season with having to make up games.

The Athletics got to choose when they wanted to make up the game. If it wasn’t today, the other options were June 23 or 26 and Aug. 18. That would have been worse for the Tribe since for two of those they would have had to fly cross country after a Sunday home game. The June 26 game would have been after a two-game series at Arizona and three-game set at Seattle while Aug. 18 would have been on an off day after facing the Orioles at home and before three games at Minnesota.

"We needed to be careful what we wished for. A long day in April is better. It’s too easy to push games off and say we’ll deal with them later and then later comes," Francona said. "(This way) we will have played three games and everyone will have played rather than go from our last exhibition game last Saturday to Friday with some games not playing."

TWINBILL MATTERS: Carlos Santana will be the catcher in the second game as Francona said the majority of guys will play both games. It is likely that one of the regular players in the lineup though will be the designated hitter.

THE 26TH MAN: Pitcher C.C. Lee will be available for the second game. The right-hander, who flew in from Columbus this morning, appeared in nine games during the spring and had an ERA of 3.20.

Teams can add an extra man for the nightcap if it’s a result of a postponed game from the day before in the same series.

When asked if there was any consideration to adding a catcher, Francona said that would have been hard since there isn’t another healthy one on the 40-man roster. Luke Carlin is on the disabled list for Triple-A Columbus.

Said Francona of Lee: "I think the organization loves him, myself included. There’s so much to like. Early in the year when you don’t know what innings are going to be there but if you’re going to be cautious you can get a guy in Triple A and get him consistent innings. There’s no doubt he is going to help us this season."

GIAMBI UPDATE: Designated hitter Jason Giambi, who is on the disabled list with a rib injury, said that he continues to make progress but that he is eager to return to Cleveland and take batting practice off one of the machines.

"The biggest thing is velocity. I have to take a couple swings and misses to see how it feels," Giambi said.

Giambi also said he would not be averse to doing a rehab stint in the minors but that he is also cognizant that Michael Bourn could come off the DL soon too.

GAME 1 LINEUPS

Indians

Asdrubal Cabrera DH


Nick Swisher 1B

Jason Kipnis 2B


Carlos Santana 3B

Ryan Raburn LF

Michael Brantley CF

Mike Aviles SS

Yan Gomes C

Elliot Johnson RF

Corey Kluber P — The right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts against Oakland.

Athletics

Coco Crisp CF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Jed Lowrie SS

Brandon Moss 1B

Yoenis Cespedes LF

Josh Reddick RF

Alberto Callaspo DH

Derek Norris C

Eric Sogard 2B

Scott Kazmir P — The left-hander is 1-3 with a 6.13 ERA in eight starts against the Indians. Kazmir was with the Indians last year and was 10-9.

Matchups

Indians vs. Kazmir: Cabrera 0 for 9; Swisher 5 for 32, HR, 2 RBI, Kipnis/Santana 0 for 0; Raburn 3 for 14, RBI; Brantley 1 for 6; Aviles 0 for 6; Gomes 0 for 0; Johnson 0 for 2

Athletics vs. Kluber: Crisp 2 for 6, RBI; Donaldson 3 for 6, HR, 4 RBI; Lowrie 0 for 0; Moss 1 for 2; Cespedes 3 for 5, HR, 2 RBI; Reddick 2 for 6, RBI; Callaspo 0 for 0; Norris 1 for 3, RBI; Sogard 0 for 1.

Number of the Day: 3 — Doubleheaders played by the Indians last season. They swept the White Sox and split against the Yankees and Royals.

Notes: Rainouts are nothing new to Kluber. His first two starts were scratched last year and a third was shortened due to rain. … Dating back to last season, Kluber has not posted a loss in his last 12 games.