"Went a little heavy on the pine tree perfume there?"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

freshener.pngOver the last few hours, I’ve tried to concoct a scenario to explain the car I passed in the parking garage this afternoon. It’s not the car that was the issue, but what I happened to notice inside the car. Hanging from the rearview mirror was not one, not two, not even eight or nine… but roughly 15 or 16 air fresheners.

They all appeared to be orange, for the record.

It is reasonable to suspect that the driver of this vehicle is the obsessive-compulsive sort. Or perhaps the smell of coconut arouses this person’s senses in ways that overpower any frustration that might arise in traffic on the daily commute. My hunch, though, is that this person is in the unenviable position of car-pooling with a coworker who possesses mutant B.O.

Whatever the scenario, I’m sure the good people at Little Trees thank this air freshener enthusiast for the patronage.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Trevor Crowe is out of the lineup for the second straight game. The Indians want to be cautious with Crowe’s right knee after he fouled a pitch off the knee last weekend. “You’re never 100 percent,” Crowe said. “But [the knee] is definitely tolerable. They just want to help me down the road.”
  • With Crowe out, it was Anderson Hernandez in the leadoff spot last night and Jason Donald tonight. “Our leadoff options are on the DL,” Acta said, referring, of course, to Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore. “It’s tough to find a team five-deep in leadoff options.”
  • Crowe’s absence has also opened up more playing time for Shelley Duncan, who has come on strong at the plate (.306 average, two doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs in 15 games) since his promotion from Columbus. In the field? Eh, not so much. Duncan misplayed two doubles in the third inning last night. Acta noted that the Indians “didn’t sign Shelley because we thought he would win a Gold Glove.”
  • R.A. Dickey, getting the start for the Mets tonight, is one of baseball’s more interesting stories. If you’re unfamiliar with his background and how he became a knuckleballer, you can check out the profile I did on Dickey for MLB.com.
  • The Indians held a pitchers’ fielding practice session before BP again today, part of the final preparation before the upcoming nine-game road trip to NL cities (Pittsburgh, Philly, Cincy). In a moment resembling something out of Spring Training camp, Acta gathered his pitchers around him on the mound beforehand to deliver some words of wisdom before the drills. “We made sure they’re aware that we’re going to play in the NL, and they’re going to see a lot of bunt plays,” Acta said. “In the AL, sometimes you can go a month without seeing a sacrifice bunt. So they need to zero in on what we’re doing and devote full attention to it.”
  • The other part of the preparation, of course, is pitchers taking batting practice, which has been going on for the last few weeks. Acta said David Huff has stood out as the guy who handles the bat better than anyone else on the pitching staff. But I wouldn’t expect to see him pinch-hitting anytime soon.
  • The primary pinch-hitter, of course, will be Travis Hafner, who will be a bench player for the length of the road trip. On the off chance you didn’t already know this, Pronk is absolutely not an option at first base. He hasn’t played there since 2007. First, it was an arthritic elbow that limited him from playing there regularly, and then the shoulder issues set in and put the kibosh on his participation in the field altogether.
  • Here’s another reminder of those halcyon days of Spring Training: The Indians will be taking a bus to Pittsburgh for the weekend series with the Pirates. They’re leaving on a two-bus caravan after tonight’s game.
  • The Tribe will get a look at the Pirates’ future this weekend. In the past week, the Bucs have promoted three of their top prospects, third baseman Pedro Alvarez (who debuted last night), outfielder Jose Tabata and right-hander Brad Lincoln (who gets the start Sunday).
  • When Carlos Santana was promoted from Columbus last week, the Indians braced us for the fact that he’s going to have some kinks to work out defensively. We saw a bit of that last night, as he and Mitch Talbot struggled to get on the same page, in terms of the signs. Santana’s English has improved dramatically in the time since the Indians acquired him two years ago, but a bit of a language barrier still exists, and that was evident last night.
  • The Indians signed their 12th-round pick, shortstop Tyler Cannon, from the University of Virginia. He hit .341 with three homers and 38 RBIs this season.
  • The new Indians Team Shop will open at Westgate in Fairview Park tomorrow. The first 25 fans through the doors at 5:30 a.m. will get two all-you-can-eat-seat three-packs.
  • Matt LaPorta continues to rake in Columbus, especially against lefties. He’s 5-for-7 with three homers and six RBIs off left-handers.
  • Third baseman Jared Goedert came out of nowhere this year to earn a promotion from Akron to Columbus. He’s batting .378 with six doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and a 1.261 OPS in nine games with the Clippers.
  • Joe Smith has allowed just one earned run in his last 11 innings over 10 appearances.
  • It was an animated atmosphere in the clubhouse before BP today, as the players gathered around the big screen to watch Mexico’s eventual 2-0 win over France in the World Cup.
  • Shin-Soo Choo’s native South Korea is crazy about soccer, to the point where the nation’s Justice Ministry is ignoring the usual 9 p.m. curfew for its 50,000 convicts on the night of games. Choo is not as soccer-crazed as some of his comrades, but he does remember getting up at 6 a.m. to watch South Korea’s matches in the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea helped host. Choo was in Class A Wisconsin at the time. “We had roommates in the Minor Leagues,” Choo said. “My roommate said, ‘Choo, what are you doing up?’ I said, ‘I apologize, but I have to watch this game.’” Choo did not watch today, when South Korea got spanked by Argentina.
  • CastroTurf is going on hiatus for a few days. I’ll catch back up with you Tuesday from Philly. There will be a fresh edition of the Indians Inbox posted on Indians.com on Monday.

~AC

6 Comments

Brantley a late scratch in AAA tonight AC…. with Crowe hurt maybe a move is coming.

Didn’t Goedert start off one year banging out 14 HRs early?

Woohoo, Rafael Perez got his first hold of the season and Kerry Wood pitched a perfect ninth inning. Somebody sound the alarms!

I feel as if every time I look at the box score I see Carlos Santana with a walk and a hit. 30 plate appearances doesn’t make a career but this kid is fun to watch, much like Carmona when he’s as dominate as he was last night.

Speaking of Carmona, ESPN had a rumormill piece about the available SPs that the Dodgers might be targeting (Lilly, Oswalt, Lee, Westbrook, and Carmona). Just for fun I looked at Cliff Lee’s numbers. He’s allowed 4 walks in 77.2 IP. Simply amazing.

Once again, to piggyback a previous comment from LACF, say what you will about some of his gaffs in his first full season at the ML level but Trevor Crowe continues to impress me with his ability to get the big hit when we need it: .320 avg with runners on (50 ABs), .389 avg with runners in scoring position (36 ABs), and .381 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs (21 ABs). I realize the sample size is small but those numbers are encouraging to see.

tribe1045, you are correct. In 2007 he hit 16 HRs in 165 ABs at Lake County, got promoted and followed that up with 4 HRs in 125 ABs at Kinston.

Huff threw only 57 of 104 pitches for strikes, and manager Manny Acta said the club must weigh whether to keep him in the rotation. “It’s simple. You can’t field a walk,” Huff said of his inability to throw strikes. “You’ve got to establish the fastball and if you can’t do that, you’re not going to win ballgames.”

The disturbing part about Huff’s outing is that he threw 17 of 27 first pitch strikes. I think it is time to bring up Carrasco only b/c I do not know if Laffey has been stretched out enough and frankly, he has pitched erratically (15 BB in 20.1 IP).

As we inch closer to July the trade rumormill will start swirling. Westbrook, Wood, Peralta, Branyan, Kearns, all of them could be had for a B-level prospect and a bag of Doritos. Given our youth and unknown commodities it might be prudent to bring Westbrook back for 2011 IF the money is right. Maybe 3 years/$12-$15M? It will be interesting to see what Westbrook wants to do and what Ron Shapiro will ask for him, especially from Cleveland.

Sweet fancy moses, Masterson had ANOTHER error! This is getting unreal.
Hey, so 3 errors, 3 runs allowed by our bullpen, and a bunch of runners left on base — welcome to 2010 Cleveland Indians baseball. One more reason to get excited for trades and call-ups.
Scott Boras aside, I’m looking at Choo’s numbers and they don’t really scream superstar. He’s 5th among RFs in OPS and 8th in BA. He’s also 9th in RBI, but that’s not entirley his fault. Still, given his periodic bone head play he’s not really this giant, supernova of a star on a deep, dark space of a team. If anything, that’s Santana.
I’m looking forward to next year, not because I think this team will win the division, but because I think we’ll have fewer question marks. With a little luck, I think they could actually make a go of it…in 2012.

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