Cold day, ain't no sun; No use complaining, gotta get the job done
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
When you’re in the midst of a typically brutal Cleveland winter, and a 50-degree day comes along, it’s nirvana. I don’t know about you, but I drive around with my windows down and my moonroof open.
Then I come down here and get acclimated to the Arizona weather. It’s 50 degrees here in Tucson today, and I’m freezing my you-know-what off. I plan to drive back to Goodyear with the windows closed and the heat cranked up.
The point (and the only worthwhile thing I’m getting out of those last two paragraphs I just typed) is this: I tend to drive around in 50-degree weather.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
ake Westbrook made his much-anticipated Cactus League debut in Tucson today. It was anticipated because it was his first start against a Major League club (albeit a Spring Training entry) in nearly two years. And it looked a lot like his first start against a Major League club (albeit a Spring Training entry) in nearly two years.
- Westbrook was rusty. He plunked the second batter he faced, and he walked three others. Only 17 of his 38 pitches went for strikes. The good news is he said his arm feels great; the bad news is he’s got some work to do in the mechanical department.
- Usually, a veteran like Westbrook makes a start or two or three in “B” games because he’s just getting his work in. But considering Westbrook’s time off, Manny Acta said it’s important for him to face Major League competition. That’s why the Indians had Fausto Carmona (the originally scheduled Monday starter, before Sunday’s game got rained out) stay back in Goodyear to pitch an intrasquad game while Westbrook made this trip. Westbrook was originally slated to pitch a “B” game when his start date fell in line with a game against the White Sox (his Opening Day opponent) later this month, because the Indians didn’t want the Sox getting a look at him. Sunday’s rainout might have affected that schedule, though.
- The full story on Westbrook will be up soon at Indians.com. A new edition of the Indians Inbox will also be posted.
- Leadoff man and center fielder Michael Brantley was the star of the show in today’s 3-2 win. He tripled to lead off the game and fell a homer shy of the cycle. “He set the tone the whole game,” Acta said. “He put up quality at-bats and worked the count well.”
- Brantley is expected to begin the season in Triple-A Columbus because of Russell Branyan’s presence, Matt LaPorta’s ensuing move to left field and the simple fact that the Indians don’t want to start Brantley’s arbitration clock prematurely.
- Catcher and top prospect Carlos Santana will also start the season in Triple-A, a level he has yet to experience. But if his production continues to meet his potential, it won’t be long before he’s in Cleveland. Acta said Santana has made a positive first impression on him. “What impresses me is he’s not your typical, over-aggressive young guy,” Acta said. “He works counts and has a good eye at the plate. He looks very polished for his age.”
- Why did the Dodgers convert Santana from third base to catcher? Acta is wondering the same thing, because he said Santana is a good athlete with good hands. While you could argue that Santana’s bat is more valuable behind the dish, Acta believes the switch-hitter is going to produce enough to justify his existence, regardless of position. “When you can hit like that,” Acta said, “you can stand anywhere.”
- But Santana has adapted well to catching the last few years, and he’s working with first-base coach and catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr. to improve even further. Alomar is working with Santana on quickening the youngster’s release on stolen-base attempts, rather than just relying on his arm strength.
- I hope he doesn’t mind me posting this, but before today’s game I saw prospect Beau Mills place the contents of a small bag of Cheetos inside what appeared to be a turkey sandwich. And I tell you what… it looked pretty darned good.
- As I was finishing up this post, the rain stopped falling and a huge rainbow stretched above Tucson Electric Park. In the backdrop, snow has gathered atop the Santa Catalina Mountains. This will be the last picture I carry in my head of Tucson (the D-Backs and Rockies are moving their training sites up to the Phoenix area next year), and it’s a beauty. Looks even better than a Cheetowich.