GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Outfielder Austin Jackson took an opportunity with the Cleveland Indians and ran with it.
Jackson was informed on Sunday that he has made Cleveland’s opening-day roster, giving the AL champions some outfield depth in case Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley aren’t ready for the start of the season.
The 30-year-old Jackson signed a minor league deal with the Indians in January. He missed the early part of training camp as he recovered from left knee surgery, but Jackson has made up for lost time by batting .375 with one homer and five RBIs in Cactus League games.
Jackson played in only 54 games last year with the Chicago White Sox before undergoing knee surgery to repair torn meniscus. He’s played in the postseason with Detroit and the Cubs.
Jackson had an out clause in his contract that had to be exercised by Sunday.
He gives manager Terry Francona another option with Brantley and Chisenhall not certain for opening day. Brantley continues to recover from surgery on his right shoulder and biceps while Chisenhall is currently sidelined after crashing into the wall on Friday.
Cleveland’s 25-man roster is rounding into shape as the club optioned right-hander Mike Clevinger to Triple-A Columbus and outfielder Bradley Zimmer was reassigned to the minor league camp.
Clevinger went 3-3 and made 10 starts for Cleveland last season, but there’s no room for him at this point in the rotation.
The Indians’ No. 1 pick in 2014, Zimmer might not spend too much time in the minors. The 24-year-old hit a combined .250 with 15 homers, 62 RBIs and 38 steals at Double- and Triple-A last season.
He had an impressive spring, batting .358 (19 for 53) with three homers, 14 RBIs and four steals.
The Indians also optioned right-hander Joe Colon to Columbus and reassigned Zimmer, catcher Adam Moore and utilityman Richie Shaffer to their minor league camp.
First baseman Chris Colabello, left-hander Tyler Olson, catcher Erik Kratz and outfielder Daniel Robertson were told they will remain in big league camp, but will not be on the opening-day roster.
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