Big stick: Lindor focused on season, not future in Cleveland

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Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor prepares to bat during baseball practice at Progressive Field, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

CLEVELAND – Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor is religiously following baseball's COVID-19 protocols — social distancing, masks, temperature checks, you name it. He's making sure others do the same.

So on Monday, after taking batting practice at Progressive Field, Lindor urged manager Terry Francona to clean his hands — with pine tar.

Lindor pranked his manager by switching a spray bottle of hand sanitizer with one filled with the adhesive hitters use to better grip their bat.

Needless to say, Francona wasn't totally amused.

“We almost wanted to release him,” Francona cracked. “I may not be able to get up off this table. I’ve used rubbing alcohol, I’ve used tape remover. It’s everywhere.”

Jokes aside, Lindor has his own sticky situation in Cleveland.

The All-Star's future with the Indians remains a touchy topic, whether the team plays 60 games this season or not again until 2021. Lindor is under the club's contractual control through next season, but the Indians aren't going to be able to afford what the 26-year-old can earn as a free agent, so Cleveland has to consider trading away the franchise's best player for prospects before he walks away,

That could happen before the new Aug. 31 trading deadline or following this season, assuming there is one.