"Went a little heavy on the pine tree perfume there?"
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
Over 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.