- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - Terry Francona acknowledged it was unlikely that Nick Swisher would be ready for opening day.

And the Cleveland Indians’ manager thinks that’s just fine.

“We talked to Swish, today,” Francona said Tuesday. “We told him opening day is not the final deadline.”

Swisher has been making steady progress in his return from August surgery on both knees. The 34-year old outfielder, designated hitter and first baseman is working on outfield drills and running the bases. What Swisher hasn’t done is appear in a Cactus League.

“He understands,” Francona said. “He did really well running the bases the last time. It was another step up. We can DH him in minor league games to make up at-bats and gradually increase the intensity.

“It is a little bit of a stretch, even in his own mind that he’d be ready for opening day but we haven’t really addressed it,” Francona added. “We have to get him in baseball shape but because he is in such good shape, that things will come quick for him.”

Also, veteran pitchers, Scott Downs, Shaun Marcum and Bruce Chen that they would not make the opening-day roster.

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