"Denny, don't plan too much. It may not come out right."
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
Rainy days were supposed to clear up with the Indians’ move to Arizona. Yet the weather here today is downright Winter Haven-esque, hence the Tribe’s first Cactus League postponement in God knows how long.
So rather than watching history (this was to be Shelley Duncan’s first start in an Indians uniform, after all), I guess I’ll retreat back to my posh Spring Training condo and watch… the Oscars? Eh, probably not. It’s hard to support an awards program that nominates 10 — 10! — movies for “Best Picture” and yet still doesn’t do anything to address the cinematic brilliance of “The Room.”
First, though, a few notes.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- With today’s game postponed, Jake Westbrook will instead start Monday in Tucson, against the D-Backs. He’s waited 21 months to start against a big league club, so what’s another day? But how about the veteran Westbrook making the 2 ½-hour trip just to work two innings? Westbrook will be making the trip because the Indians feel it’s important that he see Major League hitters at this stage of his return from Tommy John. Fausto Carmona, who was originally slated to start Monday, will instead work in an intrasquad game here at the Goodyear complex.
- The rain also wiped out the bulk of the morning workout. The hitters were still able to utilize the indoor cages, but the Tribe wasn’t able to do any fundamental drills. So the first time you see a guy airmail a throw to first, blame it on Mother Nature’s March 7 mayhem.
- Manny Acta doesn’t like all the skepticism about what Westbrook can bring to the rotation, considering he’s made just five starts over the last two seasons. “Tommy John surgery is as common as the everyday dental visit nowadays in baseball,” Acta said. “It’s not a worry. We’re expecting him to be good.”
- From my perspective, the issue people are pointing to is not Westbrook returning to effectiveness post-surgery. It’s Westbrook doing so in the No. 1 spot of the rotation. But hey, here’s hoping Acta’s accurate.
- Obviously, Lou Marson, a Cliff Lee trade acquisition, is the favorite for the starting catcher spot. Acta said Marson played “a bit better” than Wyatt Toregas at the big-league level last season (though he admitted it was a pretty small sample for both guys). But Acta said it’s too early to concede anything regarding that job. He wants to get a good look at Toregas, too.
- What’s strange is Toregas either has to win the Indians over to become the club’s Major League starting catcher, or, because of veteran Mike Redmond’s presence, he’ll have to go back to Triple-A and back up Carlos Santana. Talk about two extremes.
- Remember Wes Hodges? He was supposed to be the Indians’ third baseman of the future, but his stock took a major hit because of shoulder and wrist injuries that limited him to 86 games at Triple-A Columbus. The 25-year-old Hodges lost important developmental time on the defensive end, where he had a lot of room to improve, to begin with.
- When it comes to the Tribe’s long-term thinking about third base, Hodges appears to have been leapfrogged by Lonnie Chisenhall, who had a stellar year at Class A Kinston and Double-A Akron and has made a strong early impression here in camp. Hodges, meanwhile, said he was told he will split his time in 2010 between third base and first base. “The more versatile I can be, especially being a young guy, the more opportunity it provides,” he said. “If you can hit, they’ll find a spot for you.” Now that he’s healthy, Hodges believes he’s definitely ready to hit. But if the Indians trade Jhonny Peralta this year, it’s still anybody’s guess as to what would happen at the hot corner.
- I wrote up Mark Grudzielanek for the Indians.com site today. He was signed to compete for an infield utility job, but he has his eyes on the starting second base job (the one that’s Luis Valbuena’s to lose). “If I didn’t feel I could play every day and start,” said Grudzielanek, who didn’t play in the bigs last season, “I wouldn’t be here.” Acta said there’s nothing wrong with Grudzielanek’s competitive fire. The question, he said, is whether Grudzielanek can handle the transition to backup duties if he doesn’t land the job he wants. Grudzielanek is currently just seeing time at second base, though he’ll eventually see time at third.
- You know what I like about Grudzielanek? His last name, of course. As the proud possessor of an 11-character surname, I can sympathize with the plight of a guy like Grudzielanek, whose name loops around the number on the back of his jersey in a semicircle. “I can feel them back there,” he said of the letters. I hope they’re not weighing him down. Maybe he should just go by “Grudz.”
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