Zimmer is not in the starting lineup Thursday against the Reds. Zimmer has started four of the past five games, going 2-for-10 with a run scored and a 3:4 BB:K. Oscar Mercado is covering left field in this one, with Delino DeShields starting in center.
Zimmer went 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base in Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Twins. It doesn't seem like much, but Cleveland only managed two hits in total off Kenta Maeda and the Minnesota bullpen, so Zimmer's contribution stands out. The steal was his first of the season, and the 27-year-old is slowly pushing his way into a regular role -- he's started six of the last eight games, going 5-for-17 with a homer and Saturday's stolen base. Perhaps more importantly, he has a solid 2:4 BB:K -- strong plate discipline from a player with a career strikeout rate north of 30 percent through the equivalent of a season's worth of big-league plate appearances since 2017.
Zimmer will be a part of Cleveland's Opening Day roster, Zack Meisel of The Athletic reports. Zimmer has earned a role among a deep group of decent outfielders, though just how large that will be remains to be seen. He's appeared in 144 games over the last three seasons, hitting an unimpressive .230/.293/.359, but he could be in line for a stronger performance this year now that he's finally past the injury issues which wiped out most of his last two campaigns.
Zimmer homered for the second night in a row Thursday, Joe Noga of Cleveland.com reports. He was starting in center field and batting eighth in one of the intrasquad lineups. Zimmer hit a two-run shot to left field off Logan Allen in this scrimmage. He is reportedly 8-for-16 with three home runs and six RBI in six intrasquad games. Zimmer has changed his stance in an effort to prevent pitcher from beating him up and in. Jordan Luplow (back) and Delino DeShields (COVID-19) are questionable for Opening Day, which could allow Zimmer to make the 30-man roster.
Zimmer was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. As expected, Zimmer -- who is healthy for the first time in over a year -- will head to Triple-A to begin the season. He's expected to get back up to game speed with regular playing time in the minors before ultimately returning to Cleveland.
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