GOODYEAR, Ariz. — There is still no timetable for the exhibition debut of Austin Jackson, who is attempting to return from left knee surgery and earn a roster spot with the Indians.
Jackson, 30, is a candidate for the starting job in center field, along with Tyler Naquin and Abe Almonte, after signing a minor league contract this offseason. Depending on the status of Michael Brantley, Jackson could also be in the mix as an extra outfielder.
“We don’t have a date,” manager Terry Francona said. “When a guy’s working with the medical people, I try not to stick my head in (the trainer’s room). I mean you try to show interest, but I don’t want them to think that we’re pushing somebody.
“Austin, from the very first day we told him, in fairness to him, ‘Get yourself ready, so you can show what you can do.’ If there’s a time crunch, I think that’s more fair to him than asking him to go out there before he’s ready.”
Jackson was the White Sox’s Opening Day starter in center last year, playing in 54 games and batting .254 with 18 RBIs, before suffering a torn meniscus that required arthroscopic surgery June 15.
He owns a career batting average of .272 over seven seasons.
Downed by Dodgers
Los Angeles scored twice off left-hander Shawn Morimando to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning of Cleveland’s 4-2 loss at Glendale’s Camelback Ranch on Thursday.
Right-hander Danny Salazar made his second exhibition start, allowing a run on a hit and three walks.
Non-roster outfielder Daniel Robertson had two of the six hits for the Indians (2-3-1).
Call to arms
Right-handers Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin threw simulated games this week in Goodyear.
“(Pitching coach) Mickey (Callaway) thought (Kluber) threw the ball really well, and the same thing with Tomlin the other day in his,” Francona said.
Right-handers Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw were scheduled to throw simulated games Thursday, as the Indians proceed slowly with some of their pitchers who carried heavy workloads last year.
“Mickey has some of these guys repeating innings, just to build them up and not build them up too fast,” Francona said.
Kluber is tentatively scheduled to make his exhibition debut Monday against the Brewers at Goodyear Ballpark.
Brantley (right shoulder) took batting practice on the field for the second time Wednesday, then had a light day Thursday.
“I just talked to him a little bit ago. He’s doing good,” Francona said. “He’s got a little bit of an off-the-field day today but he’s feeling really good.”
It is unlikely that Brantley will make his exhibition debut next week.
Today, 3:05 p.m. vs. Rockies at Goodyear Ballpark. Carlos Carrasco (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Jeff Hoffman (0-0, 0.00 ERA). No television or radio.