Francisco Mejia is departing Indians camp, but not before making a second straight strong impression in March.
The top Indians prospect was sent to Triple-A Columbus on Monday after batting .421 in 20 plate appearances in his second consecutive Grapefruit League stint. Cleveland manager Terry Francona said while Mejia will stay behind the plate, he'll receive opportunities in the outfield in Minor League camp and early during the regular season.
"He's a catcher." Francona told MLB.com. "And he's such an advanced hitter that, if he's able to play another position and then there's an injury or something, he could find himself not only in the big leagues, but playing. And I think he understands. We went to pretty good lengths to try to make sure that he understands that this is not an indictment on his catching. He's just such an advanced hitter. We want to take advantage of it."
The switch-hitting backstop batted . 297/.346/.490 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in 92 games at Double-A Akron last season and saw time at third base during the Arizona Fall League, although the organization seems to be eschewing that experiment in favor of time in the outfield in addition to his catching duties.
Offseason MiLB include
Mejia's spring numbers included two home runs, seven RBIs, five runs scored and a .450 on-base percentage after posting similar numbers -- two homers, eight RBIs, five runs and a .450 OBP -- in the same number of plate appearances during spring action with the big league club last season.
Cleveland also reassigned third-ranked prospect Bobby Bradley to Minor League camp after the first baseman also impressed in camp. After shedding 30 pounds this offseason thanks to high-intensity interval training, the 21-year-old slugger batted .391/.440/.565 in 25 plate appearances with two doubles and four RBIs.
Last season, Bradley bashed 23 homers and drove in 89 runs -- the latter of which ranked second in the Eastern League -- while sporting a .251/.331/.465 slash line for the RubberDucks.