From small things, mama, big things one day come
Some guy on TV right now is giving something called the “State of the Union Address.” But if you want some real important information, then let’s get you caught up on all the latest tidbits from the Tribe’s winter Press Tour:
- For starters, the best news of Press Tour week is that 4-year-old Luke Holko is doing tremendously well in his recovery from the brain injuries he suffered when struck by a foul ball at a Mahoning Valley game in September. It was a joy to speak with Luke’s parents, Nicole and Chad, in Youngstown last night and see the expressions on their faces as they talked about their son’s incredible progress. They were also very excited to see Chris Perez, Aaron Laffey and David Huff pay their son a visit. You can read all about that here.
- The point of the Press Tour is to generate interest in the club while raising money for various charities. And if you read this space regularly, you know I try to make as much mention as possible about the Indians’ many community endeavors, because they are certainly worth noting. But if you want the full story on those activities, they will be chronicled in a new blog set up by the team’s Community Outreach department. Check it here and check it often.
- Perez said he is “95 percent” recovered from offseason surgery to remove a loose bone and a cyst from the back of his left ankle. Perez pitched with the condition throughout 2009, so it never affected him on the mound. He said his ankle is still a little weak when he plants his foot, but he’ll be fine for Spring Training and can always wear the brace he wore last year, if necessary.
- During the Youngstown stop of the Press Tour, a fan asked assistant GM Chris Antonetti what the plan is if something goes wrong with Kerry Wood. Antonetti simply pointed to Perez.
Michael Brantley is a little bit thicker than the last time we saw him. He said he gained 10 pounds of muscle by upping the ante on his lifting program. “I put on some weight, but it’s all good weight,” he said. “I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life. But I’ve been running each and every day, so I’m still light on my legs. I couldn’t be happier with my weight and conditioning.”
- Brantley (No. 46) and Carlos Santana (No. 11) cracked MLB.com’s Top 50 Prospects list, which was released tonight.
- Sandy Alomar Jr. thinks Kenny Lofton, who was named to the Tribe’s Hall of Fame today, should be considered for that other Hall of Fame. The one in Cooperstown. “Everybody talks about home runs, but this guy was the igniter for this organization for many years. … Kenny took pride in the leadoff spot and playing his role. The voters have to reward players for their abilities. It’s not just home runs and RBIs, but how they played their role.”
- What did Alomar think about his brother, Roberto, falling oh-so-short of the Hall in his first year on the ballot? He said the John Hirschbeck incident sealed Robbie’s fate, and he wishes that weren’t the case. “What bothered me about it was that in this day and era, people still don’t understand the Latin culture,” Alomar said. “We are so competitive and so emotionally involved in the game. Even at 6 or 7 years old, we want to win. It’s not just about having fun. So when we come here, we are exposed to many things that people don’t understand from us. Sometimes we don’t run because we’re frustrated. It’s not because we don’t want to hustle. Sometimes we throw our glove. … And sometimes we snap. So people don’t understand the way we play. I’m not calling anybody a bigot or anything. They just don’t understand.”
- Alomar talked a little about his program for working with young catchers, and he said a major part of it is getting them to focus on covering their signs. Too often, Alomar said, catchers’ signs are exposed to the runner at first base. “We will work on that,” he said.
- Manny Acta said the Indians are still exploring the possibility of making one or two additions before camp opens.
- I was surprised to learn that Lofton and Acta were teammates in the Houston system at the Class A Florida State League in 1990. Acta said he was playing “next to the cooler” in those days. He was a backup infielder.
- Jordan Brown did a video interview with MLB.com in which he discusses the controversy when he wasn’t given a September callup last year. You can check that out here.
- Finally, while the Press Tour isn’t over, I can safely say the coolest stop is undoubtedly the one that took place tonight, when Trevor Crowe, Tony Sipp and Tim Belcher visited the Historic Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. Before a Town Hall session with fans, the trio took a tour of the reformatory, and I got the chance to tag along. The reformatory was in use from 1896 to 1991, and it has since been a filming site for “Shawshank Redemption,” “Air Force One,” a Godsmack music video and an episode of “Ghost Hunters.” For whatever it’s worth, I highly recommend the tour.