Results tagged ‘ Aaron Laffey ’
We are now three weeks away from Opening Day. In the meantime, here’s the rundown of yet another “day that ends in y” here at Spring Training camp.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- The Indians are today’s featured team on MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days.” The first airing has already come and gone, but you can catch repeats at 11 p.m. ET tonight, and 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon and 4:30 ET on Tuesday.
- Shin-Soo Choo did not play in South Korea’s 8-2 win over Mexico in the opener of Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at San Diego’s Petco Park on Sunday. Choo gets one day off per round.
- Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will update the media on Adam Miller’s finger condition on Wednesday.
- No player has improved his organizational stock this spring more than Chris Gimenez, who hit the walkoff three-run homer against the Mariners today. He’s proven he can handle his duties behind the plate, the versatility he provides with his ability to play the corner outfield spots and first base is a plus, and he’s been productive with the bat. He won’t crack the Opening Day roster, but he could be one of the first guys the Indians turn to down at Triple-A Columbus, depending on need.
- Gimenez also won some points with fans today. As I’m typing this, the game ended about 15-20 minutes ago, and Gimenez is still down there signing autographs for fans lined up down the first-base line. He might have to walk back to the complex, as the last shuttle has likely left for the day.
- A total of seven double plays were turned by the Indians and Mariners today. I neither know nor care if that’s a Cactus League record.
- What’s more important is that Jeremy Sowers looked good again. He gave up a run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings. Afterward, he credited the immortal Sal Fasano with the improvements he’s made in pitch selection. Fasano encouraged Sowers to begin using his two-seamer to right-handers and his four-seamer to left-handers, which Sowers had not done previously. You can read more about Sowers right here.
- After a slow start, the rotation battle has heated up with the recent performances of Sowers, Aaron Laffey and Scott Lewis. “You like to see what’s happening with multiple guys,” Eric Wedge said.
- Still waiting for that big hit that announces Travis Hafner is back. He’s driving the ball consistently in BP but that hasn’t translated into the games. Hitting coach Derek Shelton said Hafner’s improvements in approach from last year to this year are noticeable. He said Hafner got into some bad habits last year as a result of the shoulder problem.
- Here’s a choice quote from Shelton on outfield prospect Michael Brantley: “When you talk to him, he’s not a 21-year-old kid. His stages of thought and what he watches with pitchers is advanced, and that’s going to help his progression to the big leagues.”
- Well, now I’m done typing, and Gimenez is just finishing up. He signed for every last fan who waited and even posed for some photos. You’ve got to love that.
The sweet sounds of Eddie Money’s “Shakin’” are blaring in an empty Goodyear Ballpark as I type this.
Yep, that’s when you know it’s definitely time to punch out for the day.
But before I go…
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- It was already pretty obvious the Indians look at Laffey as their fifth starter-to-be. He is, after all, the only guy competing for the job who has actually gotten the starting nod in each of his appearances. Today he proved he’ll probably win the job, tossing four perfect innings against the A’s and getting eight groundball outs. Really impressive outing, and Laffey’s confidence is demonstrated in this quote: “I’m taking the mindset that it’s already my spot.” That’s the kind of stuff we heard from Cliff Lee last year.
- Rafael Perez is back after a dominant run (for him, not his team) in the first round of the World Baseball Classic. Perez pitched one inning in each of the Dominican’s three games and was perfect each time, striking out three batters along the way. Eric Wedge said he’ll ease off Perez the next couple days before bringing him back into the exhibition fold. The Indians have no concerns over how he was used in the Classic because each of his outings was so effortless.
- Zach Jackson also looked pretty good, for the most part, today. He got into some trouble in the eighth when a fastball got away from him and hit Jack Hannahan in the head. Jackson might profile well for that final bullpen spot, because he could give the Indians length and he’s left-handed (complementing the three right-handed starters).
- Adam Miller began playing catch Wednesday and threw out to 75 feet today. He’ll throw out to 90 feet Sunday. No word on when he’ll go off a mound, but his return-to-throw was expected to last two weeks total.
- Jake Westbrook threw 15 pitches off the 10-inch mound this morning. He continues to progress nicely in his return from Tommy John.
- Nice play for the Tribe in the ninth inning today. Cliff Pennington was on third after tripling off Vinnie Chulk with one out. Joe Dillon hit a grounder to short against a drawn-in infield, and non-roster invitee Wilson Valdez scooped it up and made a nice throw home to catcher Chris Gimenez, who applied the tag for the second out.
- Finally, a big congrats to Frank Viola’s daughter, Brittany, who has been selected to USA Diving’s 2009 World Championships team. She’ll be competing in Rome in July in the 1-meter and 10-meter diving events.
Players aren’t the only ones spoiled at the Indians’ new Spring Training home. We media types also get treated pretty well.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a cushioned swivel chair in a Goodyear Ballpark press box that contains a media dining room, wireless Internet access and working phone lines.
It’s a far, far cry from the folding chairs and the outdoor, dirt-covered, technologically challenged environment in which we worked at Chain of Lakes in Winter Haven.
It was about two years ago at this time when that box was visited by a five-foot black snake (it was actually only about three feet long, but I will add one foot to its length every year to embellish the tale). In my mind’s eye, I can still see it slithering behind my laptop. It made its way several yards to my left before a grounds crew member arrived, grabbed it with his bare hands, whipped it around his head a few times, then tossed it to its freedom behind the ballpark.
Consider this my ode to that snake and to that box. Sure, we have all the acoutrements a modern sportswriter could need. But where’s the sense of adventure?
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- First off, glad to hear Torey Lovullo is relatively OK after getting struck with a broken bat above the left eye Sunday. The curse of the maple bats lives on, despite MLB’s new regulations. Lovullo had nine stitches above his eye, which is swollen shut, but he was lucky to be wearing sunglasses at the time of the incident. The damage could have been much worse.
- Lovullo was struck because the bat bounced off the netting atop the Indians’ dugout and hit him as he turned his head to see where it went. But this is no knock on the netting, which extends to the end of each dugout at Goodyear Ballpark. The fans sitting in the first row behind the dugout were no doubt happy the netting was there, and I’ve always been in support of MLB mandating that every ballpark install such a safety precaution.
- Grady Sizemore (sore left groin) might be ready to DH by Wednesday. He took some BP and played catch today and will be evaluated again tomorrow. He hasn’t done any running or any activity with his lower half.
- Cliff Lee threw a two-inning simulated session today. He faced Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and David Dellucci. Lee is slated to make his Cactus League debut Friday against the Brewers.
- RHP Anthony Reyes isn’t the only guy making his spring debut in tomorrow’s game agains the Rangers. LHP Tony Sipp, who has been about a week behind because of left shoudler tendinitis that sprouted up last fall, is also in the mix for the game in Surprise.
- The Rangers batted out of order in the sixth inning of today’s game, but the Indians either didn’t notice or didn’t care enough to point it out to the umpires. Travis Metcalf, who replaced No. 3 hitter Michael Young, was supposed to lead off the inning. Instead, cleanup hitter Andruw Jones led off and Metcalf batted second.
- Aaron Laffey had a rough second inning today but shook it off as fate conspiring against him. He said he was happy with his stuff.
- Always nice to catch up with Omar, although he kind of threw his 13-year-old son, Nico, under the bus. When asked if Nico plays ball, Omar said, “Nah, he’s lazy. I think living in Seattle got to him. People there sit behind desks and use computers.” He said Nico is more into playing his electric guitar than picking up a bat.
- Eric Wedge on Wes Hodges, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored today: “For a young hitter with some power, he stays in the middle of the field as well as any young hitter I’ve seen.” On the defensive side, Hodges made a throwing error at third.
- The other day, I told you Rafael Betancourt was introduced by the Goodyear Ballpark PA guy as “John Betancourt.” Today, Tomo Ohka was “Mister Ohka.” This guy… is struggling.
You know, I’m not one to promote frivolous lawsuits. But if the guy who designed Chipotle wanted to make a few bucks, he could probably put together a pretty strong case against the guy who designed Goodyear Ballpark. I don’t think that would be a suit with much frivol.
Only their mothers (or architects, as it were) can tell them apart. Anyway, let's go over today's activity at the Big Chipotle.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...
First off, in my lineups posting below, I gave you the wrong list of available pitchers in the 'pen. That's actually tomorrow's list. So consider it a sneak preview, all right?
Wow, we're really going to have some long games here. It was a 3-hour, 22-minute tilt today. Somebody forgot to pack that Florida humidity.
Eric Wedge thinks Aaron Laffey, who gave up an unearned run on two hits in two innings against the D-backs today, is handling the battle for a rotation spot much better this year than last. Laffey pressed last year. "He seems to be more comfortable, more relaxed," Wedge said. "He learned a great deal last year, and that's going to help him a great deal this year."
Regarding the rotation battle, it's been reported -- and Wedge has said -- that there are two jobs open. That's only true if Anthony Reyes' elbow flares up on him. If Reyes is healthy, he's the fourth starter. Remember he's out of Minor League options.
Matt LaPorta lost a ball in the sun (get used to that; it's brutal in left field here) in the top of the second, then cranked out a solo shot off Dan Haren in the bottom of the inning. "I'm impressed with my approach right now," he said. "I'm still getting adjusted to playing again. My timing's coming back. It's going well."
The Indians made four errors today. "It's early," Wedge said. "Guys aren't going to be as sharp early on."
Shortstop Jesus Merchan got hit by a pitch at the plate and hit by a liner into the Indians' dugout. "He'll be in the cold whirlpool after the game," Wedge said with a laugh.
Grady Sizemore and Mark DeRosa leave camp Sunday to join their Team USA teammates in Clearwater, Fla. They'll play in Saturday's game in Phoenix, against the A's.
Sizemore was asked if he thinks the World Baseball Classic games will be "intense." His reply: "It's baseball." In other words, no.
Don't forget that Saturday is the day single-game tickets go on-sale for all 2009 home games Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. You can buy your tickets right here. If you buy four or more single-game tickets on Saturday or Sunday, you get a free Sizemore fleece blanket.
One note on the season schedule: The Sunday, May 31, game against the Yankees has been changed from a 1:05 p.m. ET start to 12:40 p.m., because TBS will broadcast it nationally. In Cleveland, it will be blacked out on TBS but aired on SportsTime Ohio.
The Indians aren't just losing nine players to the Classic. Visiting clubhouse manager Willie Jenks left camp today to serve as the head clubbie for the Venezuelan team.
I told you about the unnatural obsession with Affliction T-shirts in the Tribe clubhouse, but apparently LaPorta went a little too far. He wore a neon blue shirt to work yesterday, and his teammates abused him by hanging it up in the middle of the clubhouse with a sign that said "Prime Time."