Lindor generated lots of smiles and stares when he walked into the clubhouse sporting a short, dyed-white haircut reminiscent of the R&B singer Sisqo. The All-Star said he’s especially motivated to raise his game after last season’s disappointing finish. The Indians reeled off 22 straight victories in August and September and were one of only three MLB teams to win at least 100 games. But they fell to the New York Yankees in five games in the American League Division Series, a year after losing to the Chicago Cubs in seven games in the World Series.
“I want to finish,” Lindor said. “We were up 3-1 [to the Cubs], and we lost. We were up 2-0 [to the Yankees], and we lost. I want to finish things. I want to improve on my hitting, my baserunning and my fielding. I definitely feel I let down a lot of the pitchers last year, not by making errors, but by not getting to baseballs. Pitchers work as hard as they can, and when they execute and I don’t help them, that’s not right.
“It’s part of the game. You win some, you lose some. You definitely don’t want to finish a season like that. I’m still hurt about it. But you move on.”
Lindor, who turned 24 in November, set a major league record for a switch-hitting shortstop with 33 home runs last season. He became the first 23-or-under shortstop to hit 30 homers since 1999, when Alex Rodriguez recorded 42 homers for the Seattle Mariners. Lindor also led AL shortstops with an .842 OPS and ranked second to Texas’ Elvis Andrus at the position in hits and runs scored.
But Lindor hit .111 (2-for-18) against the Yankees in the ALDS, and the Indians’ offense disappeared after they took a two-game lead.
“No excuses,” Lindor said. “We were nine innings from moving on. I didn’t get any hits. I got [two] hits in the whole series, and that’s not the way it should be. I didn’t perform. I didn’t help my team.”
Lindor decided to move forward with a new hairstyle Thursday in Orlando, Florida, before leaving for spring training. His sister and his barber helped him with the process, which took about an hour and a half to complete.
“Everybody was like, ‘Cut it, cut it, cut it,”’ Lindor said. “Then we cut it, and they were like, ‘Oh, no, why?’
“I just wanted to cut it, and I was like, ‘Dad, I’m going for your look.’ He liked it. He was like, ‘Finally.”’
As Lindor unpacked several boxes on his first day at camp, pitcher Cody Anderson stopped by, hugged him and stared at his buzz cut and dye job. Several other teammates laughed or commented on Lindor’s resemblance to Sisqo.
“I loved the ‘Thong Song’ when it came out,” Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis?said, laughing.
Cleveland’s pitchers and catchers held their second workout Friday at Goodyear Ballpark. Lindor and the position players will join in when the team holds its first full-squad workout Monday.