"Ain't no ghost gonna run me off"
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
I am convinced about very few things in life, but one thing I know for sure is that the hotel I typically stay at here in Anaheim is haunted.
Well, not the entire hotel. Just the workout room. It has televisions attached to its treadmills, but they operate independently of human contact. They turn on when they’re supposed to be off, they turn off when they’re supposed to be on. And the channels change on their own.
This morning, when I wanted to watch ESPN, the treadmill decided after a few minutes that I’d be much better off watching the “Threesome Disasters” episode of “The Jerry Springer Show.”
The treadmill was right, but that’s not the point. The point is this happens each and every time I stay at this hotel. Either the workout room is haunted, or Springer has found an innovative way to boost his ratings.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Austin Kearns. Who woulda thunk it? Manny Acta thunk it, to some degree. He knew Kearns well from Washington, knew the pain he played through the last two years and viewed Kearns as an above-average defender in the outfield with right-handed pop. But I don’t think anybody envisioned Kearns getting this much playing time and occupying such a prominent spot in the lineup. Kearns is batting .386 with two homers and 10 RBIs, and is batting .474 over the last four games. That helps takes some of the pressure off Shin-Soo Choo in the No. 3 spot, though the Indians obviously still need better contributions from Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner.
- Acta on Kearns: “This was the first time in the last five or six years where he had to come to Spring Training having to make a ballclub. I just told him, ‘This is unchartered territory for you, but you have to battle because nothing’s going to be given to you. I know what you can do, so just get out there and play.’ He handled it very well.”
- Pretty telling that Acta began benching Hafner against lefties this week. Not sure how long or how often that will take place, but it’s not an encouraging sign that Hafner will reclaim his Pronkness. Lefties are holding Hafner to a .148 average against and no extra-base hits. He hasn’t been much better against righties (.235, with four extra-base hits). He’s looked pretty lost at the plate thus far this season, and now it’s begun affecting his playing time.
- Shin-Soo Choo has had a busy week off the field, as the Angels credentialed 10 Korean journalists for this series. He was also scheduled to get a day off in Oakland, but Acta didn’t want to disappoint the large Korean fan base in the Bay Area. The same applies here in the LA area. Choo has yet to miss an inning, let alone a game, this season.
- The Tribe’s team batting average rose from .223 to .237 with last night’s 18-hit output.
- Rule 5 pickup Hector Ambriz (elbow tendonitis) gave up a run on two hits with four strikeouts in two innings of work for Columbus last night, raising his ERA to 1.13 over eight innings. The Indians must make a decision on him next week, as his rehab assignment expires May 8.
- Kerry Wood will throw a bullpen session in Cleveland on Friday, with a simulated game soon thereafter. If all goes well, he should then be ready to begin a rehab assignment in the Minors.
- As Luis Valbuena struggles up here, Jason Donald is in the midst of a sizzling stretch at Columbus. Donald has driven in 10 runs over his last eight games and is batting .355 (11-for-31) with two doubles and two homers in that span. He’s started 15 games at second base and four at short.
- If you thought the Jerry Springer show was strange, wait until you hear this. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Indians are the most hated team in baseball, registering a 0.9 on WSJ.com’s “Hatred Index,” which measures positive and negative reactions on the Internet. The Yankees draw the ire of plenty of fans outside of the Big Apple, but I guess winning a World Series and spending freely on top talent earned them enough points with their loyalists to only earn a fifth-place ranking in the study. Full results are here.
- The Angels only have four of these weekday 4:10 p.m. PT starts this season, and the Indians happen to play in two of them. That’s obviously not ideal for a club traveling back east immediately after the game. The Indians are expected to land in Cleveland around 4 a.m. ET Thursday.