Results tagged ‘ Asdrubal Cabrera ’

Got on my dead man's suit and my smilin' skull ring


322938259.jpgI thought the Indians' clubhouse featured a lot of guys in Affliction T-shirts.

 

Then I went to dinner last night at a restaurant next to an arena hosting a Disturbed concert. The attendees were lined up outside, ready to rock out and bang their heads to such easy listening tunes as "Down with the Sickness," "Violence Fetish," "Sons of Plunder," and "Ten Thousand Fists."

 

There are graveyards with fewer skulls and crossbones than what I witnessed last night.

 

The Affliction epidemic continues, as does the Spring Training that won't die.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Just hours after Trevor Crowe was optioned down to Columbus, David Dellucci's calf muscle tightened up on him. If it doesn't respond to treatment immediately, Dellucci's spot is very much in jeopardy. If he has to start the year on the DL, I'd expect Crowe to get called up, unless the Indians decide to keep Tony Graffanino around for a little while. Not much word on Dellucci's condition, other than it was the same today as yesterday and he was getting treatment back at the complex. So stay tuned.
  • Expect an announcement about the last bullpen spot either Monday or Tuesday. It's coming down to Zach Jackson and Vinnie Chulk, and Eric Wedge made it clear that Saturday's game, in which Jackson struggled and Chulk shined, will not serve as a deciding factor. "We look at everything," Wedge said. "I don't think [Saturday] was necessarily good or bad for either one of those guys. We're working through some other things outside of that... what we saw last year, where we're at now, how we see us breaking, how we look at the entire year. So we're going to still stay with that criteria."
  • Given all those qualifiers, it appears to me that the Indians are still leaning toward Jackson. He'd be a left-handed complement to their three right-handed starters, and he can provide length. But that's my own speculation. I guess we'll know the answer any day now.
  • Mark DeRosa made quite an impression on the Cubs and their fans in just two years in Chicago. He was getting lots of love pregame today at HoHoKam Park. And then he stepped up and jacked the first pitch he saw from Ted Lilly over the left-field wall.
  • DeRosa wasn't done. In his second at-bat, DeRosa took Lilly deep to left again -- this time nailing the top of the scoreboard. In his third at-bat, DeRosa hit a shot off the center-field batter's eye that, strangely, is in play. That was very nearly homer No. 3. Looks like DeRo is locked in.
  • Wedge says Masa Kobayashi is on the club, but he took another step back today (two runs on three hits, including a Reed Johnson homer, in one inning). He'll be on a short leash this season.
  • You might want to check out the Bill James Goldmine 2009, which is filled with little nuggets of info, as well as essays and statistical profiles. James unearthed several interesting facts about the '08 Indians. I'll share a few of them here. 
  • According to James' research, the Indians were leading their opponents 83 times in the fifth inning last year, and that was the best fifth-inning record in the AL and the third-best in the Majors. The fact that the club went 81-81 just shows you how lousy that bullpen was, because no other team in baseball finished the season with less total wins than fifth-inning leads.
  • James found that Grady Sizemore's batting average on pulled grounders was .172 last year, compared with .202 in 2007. Defenses have begun to shift on Sizemore, and it's worked pretty well.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera reached base leading off an inning 27 times in '08, and the Indians scored 43 runs in those innings. James says that's the highest production rate in the Majors in that situation.
  • There's plenty more where that came from, but I'll leave it to you to seek out James' book.

~AC

The Irish been coming here for years, acting like they own the place

St. Patrick's Day is a really divisive holiday for me. When I'm not working, it is, without question, one of the best days of the year. And when I am working, it is, without question, one of the most obnoxious days of the year.


fourleafclover.jpg 

If you're neither Irish nor inebriated, this holiday does nothing for you. If you're not a fan of corned beef or soda bread, all you've got is a bunch of goofs wearing T-shirts with ridiculous expressions like "Erin Go Braless" or saying annoying things like "Top o' the mornin' to ya!"

 

Ah, maybe I'm just jealous. Pass the Tullamore Dew. I need to get in the holiday spirit.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Wow. Cliff Lee took quite a lump today -- 10 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. It reads as bad as it looked, and it looked heinous. Lee said he was just trying to locate his fastballs today. And I could definitely locate them. There was one that landed near the warning track in right, there was one off the center-field wall, there was one that cruised past his left ear on a liner up the middle.... well, you get the idea.
  • That being said, Lee had a point. He was basically throwing nothing but fastballs. Only five or six of his 60-some pitches were offspeed. He was throwing fastballs in counts he'd never throw them in-season, and he said he also took into account the fact that he'll be facing this Rangers team in less than three weeks, when the games count.
  • By the way, Lee had a 5.68 ERA and a .342 average against last spring -- and that's when he was competing for a job. I know those numbers aren't as bad as the 18.90 ERA he's carrying now, but it's just another demonstration that we shouldn't put too much weight into what happens out here. So don't panic yet.
  • Well, unless you were counting on Masa Kobayashi to be a go-to setup man. In that case, yes, now would be a good time to panic. But Eric Wedge thought he looked better today.
  • Travis Hafner will begin to see some action in Minor League games in the coming weeks, for a couple reasons. It gives him extra repetitions, for one. But after Wednesday's off day, nine of the Indians' remaining 10 exhibition road games will be against National League teams. Thus far, the Indians haven't had a single road game in which the DH wasn't utilized, but that's sure to change as we get closer to the regular season.
  • Let's talk about the batting order. We know, of course, that Grady Sizemore is going to lead off. We know Mark DeRosa is batting second. We know Wedge prefers to have Hafner at No. 3 and Victor Martinez at cleanup. But Wedge said today he puts Hafner, Martinez and Jhonny Peralta (who was excellent at No. 4 last year) in those Nos. 3-5 spots, and he's still not sure of the order or even if it will be static.
  • Moving down the order, Wedge said Asdrubal Cabrera will remain in the Nos. 8 or 9 spots. He likes the protection that affords the young Cabrera, though he still sees him potentially working his way back up to No. 2 (where he thrived at the end of '07) someday. That leaves Shin-Soo Choo, Ben Francisco and Kelly Shoppach/Ryan Garko somewhere in the Nos. 6-9 mix, with the order depending on the day and opposing pitcher.
  • How would you organize the lineup? I'd go with Choo at No. 3, Peralta at No. 4, Martinez at No. 5 and Hafner at No. 6 at the outset. It's too early to know what the Indians will get out of Pronk, so I would bump him down and ease the pressure on him.
  • Peralta started at third today. That's his second appearance there this spring. "We just want to give him some repetitions," Wedge said, "so that if we do need him [at third], he's been there." Cabrera started at short.
  • Kirk Saarloos came on in emergency relief of Lee in the third inning and held the Rangers scoreless for 1 1/3 innings. It was a nice audition for that long relief role.
  • A guy dressed in costume as a gigantic Dunkin' Donuts coffee cup came into the PDC this morning with about four or five dozen free donuts for all the players. Well, it's 2009. The coffee cup should have known that the modern athlete is prohibited (at work and under the supervision of a team of athletic trainers, anyway) from eating such garbage.
  • So, guess who got all the donuts? Yes, media membership has its privileges.

~AC

"It's true! Nobody can do the Switch! It was a stupid idea to begin with!"

Just days after I wrote in an Inbox that the Indians might want to consider having Asdrubal Cabrera bat solely from the right-hand side, he stepped up today and ripped a two-run double off right-hander Cha Seung Baek -- from the left-hand side, naturally.

 

That's just the way these things tend to happen.

 

But the more important matter here is that when Cabrera came out of the game and was asked how long he's been switch-hitting, he said he's been doing it since he was 3 years old.

 

Three?!

 

I couldn't even burp out of both sides of my mouth when I was three, and this guy was switch-hitting. It kind of makes me wonder what kind of journalistic career I might have had if I had attempted switch-writing at a young age. Just think how often that would have saved me from hand cramps while jotting down choice quotes from ballplayers.

 

Ah, what might have been. Here's the rest of today's story.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • The first round of cuts is coming. I haven't heard an exact date, but it will definitely be any day now. The first cuts are obviously the easiest. None of them will impact the various roster battles taking place.
  • At what point do the Indians express legitimate concern over Masa Kobayashi? Right about now, I'd say. He has a ghastly 15.75 ERA after giving up another three runs on four hits with a walk in one inning against the Padres today. He's not quite up to Aaron Fultz-ian levels yet, but this has been an ugly camp for Kobayashi thus far. "We need to see him turn the corner for us," Eric Wedge said. Stay tuned.
  • Cabrera also said he's lost between 10-15 pounds since arriving to camp early, on Jan. 15. He said he weighs 198 now, versus 210 a year ago.
  • Fausto Carmona was terrific again today. He walked three batters in four innings but held the Padres scoreless on one hit in four innings. "He's doing a good job getting himself back on-line [when he runs into trouble]," Wedge said.
  • Sean Casey's coming to camp. The Mayor, who retired this year and became an analyst on MLB Network, will be in Minor League camp Monday through Thursday as a guest instructor working with the hitters and first basemen.
  • I've mentioned this before, but one guy who has really opened eyes this spring is Chris Gimenez. A year ago, the Indians weren't even sure he could handle catching in the big leagues. Now they're certain of it. And catching might not even be his best position. Wedge said he's comfortable using Gimenez in left, right and first base. "The irony is we signed him as a third baseman," Wedge said with a laugh.
  • The Indians haven't settled on a third catcher going into the season. It's either Gimenez or Wyatt Toregas. They'll both be at Triple-A Columbus. Toregas is excellent behind the plate but shaky at it. Gimenez's versatility (they love that word here) is, of course, a bonus.
  • Jensen Lewis has been pitching like a man possessed this spring, giving up no runs on three hits with six strikeouts in six innings over five appearances so far. He has said all the right things with regard to the Indians' decision to sign Kerry Wood over the winter, but Lewis remains hungry to prove to the higher-ups that he can be a dominant late-inning arm. "We're seeing a lot of good things out of him right now," Wedge said.
  • The members of the Peoria police department have BMW motorcycles. Now that's cool.

~AC

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