Indians’ All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor may miss start of the season

The Cleveland Indians may start the season without their best player.

All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor will miss much if not all of spring training — and maybe the start of the season — because of a strained right calf.

Lindor was injured while working out in Orlando. He was checked Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic and team physician Mark Shickendantz confirmed a moderate sprain.

The Indians say Lindor will be sidelined up to nine weeks, which would place his return sometime in early April. Cleveland opens the regular season March 28 in Minnesota.

The loss of Lindor for any period is a major blow to the three-time defending division champions. A three-time All-Star, Lindor batted .277 last season with 38 homers, 92 RBIs and 129 runs.

Arbitration: Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer’s salary arbitration case was heard.

After winning last year’s hearing, Bauer asked for $13 million and the Indians argued for $11 million on Friday.

Bauer won a $6,525,000 salary last year in a case decided by arbitrators who ruled against Cleveland’s $5.3 million offer.

Bauer, 28, was a first-time All-Star last year and finished sixth in AL Cy Young Award voting after going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA.

• Relievers Ryan Tepera of Toronto and Kyle Barraclough of Washington lost their cases, leaving the sides tied 3-3 with six possible decisions remaining.

Tepera was awarded a $1,525,000 salary rather than his request for $1.8 million. Barraclough was given a $1,725,000 salary instead of his $2 million request.

Rule changes: Don’t look for a National League designated hitter this year or for new anti-tanking rules in June’s amateur draft.

Speaking Friday after an owners’ meeting, Commissioner Rob Manfred said management is focused on pace-of-game changes for 2019 and bolder ideas proposed by the players’ association are too complex to be put in place for this season.

Manfred said he felt encouraged that the union responded to management’s proposal for a pitch clock and a three-batter minimum for a relief pitcher unless an inning ends.

Briefly: Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and the Washington Nationals have finalized their $1.3 million, one-year contract, a deal that allows him to earn $4 million in performance bonuses for starts. The 31-year-old was 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 19 starts for Washington last season. … Right-hander Ricky Nolasco and lefty Marc Rzepczynski have agreed to minor-league contracts with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Nolasco, 36, has not pitched in the majors since 2017 with the Los Angeles Angels. Rzepczynski, 33, had a 6.97 ERA in 23 games last year with Seattle and Cleveland. … Infielder Danny Espinosa and the New York Mets have agreed to a minor-league contract. … Right-hander Josh Tomlin has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

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