CLEVELAND — The New York Times reported Wednesday that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is beginning to apply pressure on the Indians to eliminate the Chief Wahoo logo.
Manfred has been in discussions with team owner Paul Dolan on the subject since last October, when an advocate for indigenous people failed in court to block the team from wearing the logo during the American League Championship Series in Toronto.
In a statement to the New York Times, Pat Courtney, a spokesman for the commissioner, said that during talks with Dolan, Manfred has made clear his “desire to transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo.”
Courtney added: “We have specific steps in an identified process and are making progress. We are confident that a positive resolution will be reached that will be good for the game and the club.”
Under former team president Mark Shapiro, the Indians began phasing out Chief Wahoo as their primary logo, replacing it with the block C.
Cleveland has used a Native American logo since 1928, but Chief Wahoo did not appear until 1951.
The Indians released a statement Wednesday: “Commissioner Rob Manfred and Indians owner Paul Dolan have had on-going dialogue on the topic of Chief Wahoo since last October. We certainly understand the sensitivities of the logo — those who find it insensitive and also those fans who have a long standing attachment to its place in the history of the team.
“We fully expect to work with the commissioner throughout the remainder of this season on finding a solution that is good for the game and our organization. Our primary focus right now is on the team and our pursuit of returning to the postseason.”
Though the block C logo was prevalent at Progressive Field for the home opener Tuesday, Cleveland players wore Chief Wahoo on their hats and the sleeves of their jerseys.
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Indians manager Terry Francona said the team expected to activate outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall from the disabled list prior to tonight’s series finale with Chicago.
Chisenhall (right shoulder sprain) was scheduled to make a rehab appearance Wednesday at Double-A Akron before heading to Cleveland. He has played in three rehab games for Triple-A Columbus, going 5-for-12 with a double.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor doesn’t view himself as a power hitter, but he entered Wednesday with four home runs over his first seven games.
“I think when he makes good contact, he’s going to hit some balls out of the ballpark,” Francona said of Lindor, who hit 15 homers in his first full season last year. “I’m glad he doesn’t view himself as a power hitter, because I think when he views it that way, I think he’s going to hit more. I think when he gets long and wants to hit one, that’s when you see a little longer swing. When he stays short and quick, I think you’re going to see some home runs hit, just by him putting the barrel on it.”
Right-hander Cody Allen is a notoriously slow starter, but he’s been on the mark at the outset of the season, allowing just a run and striking out nine over his first four appearances (3 2⁄3 innings).
“I think April’s not been his most favorite month, as with a lot of players,” Francona said of Allen, who didn’t allow a run in 10 postseason games covering 13 2⁄3 innings last year. “For whatever reason, getting some reps under your belt that count ... but I thought even in spring training, like his first outing, I was like, ‘Wow, man, he looks really good.’ I wasn’t maybe quite expecting that yet.
“I think, and you can understand it because Andrew (Miller) has done what he’s done, sometimes I think people overlook what Cody’s done. He’s been one of the best in the game and he continues to do so.”
Allen posted a 2.51 ERA in 67 games last year, converting 32 of his 35 save opportunities. The save total ranked seventh in the AL.
The Indians weren’t sure what to expect from right-hander Carlos Carrasco to start the season. Carrasco hadn’t pitched in a big league game since Sept. 17 of last year and was limited this spring by elbow soreness.
His performance over his first two starts this year — 1-0, 2.13 ERA — has been a pleasant surprise.
“I think we were kind of relieved because he hadn’t pitched much. Of all the guys, (pitching coach) Mickey (Callaway) really wanted him to pitch a lot this spring and he didn’t,” Francona said. “You worry about him getting deep enough in a game where you don’t mess it up for the other guys, and he’s pitched really well in both games.
“Now he’s getting to the point where another game or two you’re not going to be asking about pitch counts. It will be whether he can win or not, which is good. He looks really sharp.”
- Yan Gomes is off to another slow start, going 1-for-18 over his first six games. Gomes, a Silver Slugger award winner in 2014, hit a career-low .167 in 74 games last year.
- ** The Indians entered Wednesday having scored 11 of their 30 runs in the ninth inning or later.
- ** Lindor led the team and ranked fourth in the AL with seven runs scored through Tuesday.