"You can't always get what you want"
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
A reporter (not me) goes to a Goodyear Ballpark concession stand to order a pizza and some potato chips. But the chips, he’s informed, are only available as part of a combo meal.
“Can’t I buy them separately?” he asks.
“No,” he’s told.
“Can’t I make the pizza a combo?” he asks.
“No,” he’s told, “they’re only available as part of the hot-dog combo.”
He walked away chipless, with burnt pizza.
And people thought our health care system needed revamping.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- The Indians will decide this weekend if Russell Branyan (herniated disc in lower back) is ready to appear in a Cactus League game. If he is cleared to play, he’d have the one week he feels he needs to prepare for the regular season. Ultimately, though, the decision will be in Manny Acta’s hands. Acta said some guys need roughly 60 at-bats to be ready and other guys just 30 or so. You, of course, have the right to remain skeptical that Branyan will be on the Opening Day roster. For what it’s worth, he did re-initiate baseball activities this week. He’s taking grounders and playing catch and taking swings off a tee in the indoor cage. “Now,” Branyan said, “it’s just a matter of putting it all together.” And tolerating the volume. Here’s the full story on Branyan.
- Michael Brantley rolled his right ankle Sunday — and that might seem like a red flag, considering Brantley’s ankle trouble at Double-A Huntsville in ’08 and Triple-A Columbus last year. But Brantley said he was removed from Sunday’s game merely as a precaution. “I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m healthy as can be. I rehabbed hard this winter to make sure both my ankles are strong.” Brantley said his conditioning program involved the use of balance balls and leg press machines to strengthen the muscles in his ankles.
- When last I wrote about Kerry Wood on Thursday, Acta was essentially telling reporters we were wasting our time even bringing up his right lat soreness because it wasn’t considered serious. Now, Wood is slated to miss six to eight weeks, Chris Perez is the temporary closer and the bullpen battle is either much more clear or much more complicated, depending on how you look at it.
- With spots guaranteed to the two Perezes (Chris and Rafael), Joe Smith and Tony Sipp, that would leave Hector Ambriz, Jensen Lewis (who had a rough outing today but has otherwise looked sharp this spring), Saul Rivera and Jamey Wright competing for three spots. Unless, of course, Mitch Talbot and/or Aaron Laffey miss out on a rotation spot and get placed in the ‘pen. But I’m still predicting Talbot will be in the rotation and either David Huff or Laffey will end up in Triple-A, because the starting depth they’d provide is more valuable than anything they’d contribute in middle or long relief.
- Perez worked the ninth inning against the Brewers today. You might chalk this up as good preparation for him, until you note that the Tribe was trailing 9-2 when he came in. It was not a clean outing for Perez, who walked two batters with one out, leading to a run.
- Perez isn’t letting himself get overly excited about taking over the closing duties. “There’s so much emphasis put on the ninth inning compared to any other inning in the game,” he said. “But you can lose a game in the eighth just as much as you can in the ninth. And there are times when it’s easier to work the ninth than the eighth, depending on where you are in the lineup.” Perez briefly closed for the Cardinals at the end of the ’08 season and blew a couple saves along the way. But he said nothing he experienced in that regard sticks with him the way his disastrous first outing with the Indians last summer does.
- Carlos Carrasco isn’t vying for a rotation spot, but he’s looked pretty darned good the past week. He worked four no-hit innings in Tucson last Wednesday, and he worked five innings of scoreless relief against the Brew Crew today. “He threw the ball very well,” Acta said. “He was aggressive in the zone. The kid has good stuff.”
- Jeremy Sowers, on the other hand, was roughed up to the tune of seven runs (six earned) in one-plus inning today. “He didn’t throw enough strikes,” Acta said. “He’s basically finishing his rehab. You’re not expecting pinpoint control. He’s just getting stretched out.” Sowers, out of Minor League options, will probably begin the season on the disabled list as he builds up his workload after battling shoulder soreness.
- The Indians will be featured on MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days” show on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 9 p.m. ET. The show will feature interviews and analysis previewing the upcoming season.
- I returned to Arizona just in time for the first and last off day of the Cactus League calendar. It arrives Wednesday. How will Acta spend it? “Mama’s coming to town,” he said of his wife, Cindy. “That’s a good thing.”
- No “mama”? No worries. You can look for an edition of the Indians Inbox on the Indians.com site to satiate you on an otherwise quiet day.