Results tagged ‘ Carl Pavano ’

"'Cut to the chase'? Who are you, Joe Hollywood?"

I love the NCAA tournament, if for no other reason than it gives the national audience a glimpse at the talents of guys like Western Kentucky's Orlando Mendez-Valdez -- the man so nice, they named him twice.

 

But you know what I don't like? First halves. They're a bit of a tease, really, and they do nothing for me on the drama scale.

 

Perhaps the NCAA should consider just cutting to the chase and getting to the good stuff. How about starting the games at the second half, with a point spread based on seeding? So when a 16 plays a 1, the 1 seed has a 15-point lead with 20 minutes left.

 

This idea sounded so good in my head. In print, it looks pretty stupid. And I'm feeling too lazy to erase it and blog about something else, so let's just get to today's Tribe tidbits, shall we?

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Fausto Carmona seems fine after suffering that bruised forearm in a Minor League intrasquad yesterday. Pitching coach Carl Willis said Carmona should be able to throw his bullpen session Saturday and should be good to go when his regular turn in the rotation comes up Tuesday.
  • Strong and deserved praise from Eric Wedge for left-hander Scott Lewis after Lewis went five scoreless innings of relief against the A's today, allowing just four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Is Lewis now the frontrunner for that last rotation spot? "He's right in the middle of everything," Wedge said. "I'll tell you that much. He's had as good a camp as any starting pitcher we have here. Today was definitely a positive step for him."
  • Aaron Laffey came into camp as the favorite for the job, as evidenced by the fact that he's started each of his five appearances. But Laffey's inconsistency has led to a 6.92 ERA. Lewis now has a 3.52 ERA in five appearances, but he's made only one start, so he hasn't gotten a full taste of real lineups. Still, you have to be impressed with what he's displayed here, picking up where he left off at the end of last season. Today he did a nice job pitching himself out of trouble.
  • It was an ugly start for Carl Pavano, who gave up six runs on seven hits with three walks in four innings. Five of the hits went for extra bases, including Cliff Pennington's three-run triple in the second and Aaron Cunningham's two-run homer in the fourth.
  • The second inning got away from Pavano after a Daric Barton chopper up the middle kicked off his glove for a single. "I lost it in the sun," Pavano said. "In hindsight, I should have let it fall and let [Asdrubal Cabrera] get it."
  • Pavano, as tends to be the case when a guy gets roughed up in Spring Training, said he felt good. He said he was working on using his legs more to push off the mound and get a better finishing action on his pitches. He said he's left camps before with worse stuff than he has now, so he's encouraged. I guess we'll see.
  • Ryan Garko was in left field today, and he did a nice job running down a Jack Cust fly ball in foul territory near the wall in the fourth inning.
  • Wilson Valdez put down a squeeze bunt with two outs in the eighth. You won't see that too often, if ever, especially on a Wedge team. Valdez was acting on his own there, and he nearly beat out the throw. Nearly.
  • The weekend crowds have been good here. Today's game drew 7,571 to Goodyear Ballpark, and the Big Chipotle will be jam-packed tomorrow, when the Dodgers arrive. Not sure if Manny Ramirez will be on-hand, but I do know that sellout crowd of nearly 10,000 fans will be. Fans are encouraged to arrive early. Gates will open at 11 a.m. PT in advance of the 1:05 p.m. PT first pitch.

~AC

General Manager Minutia

shapiro.jpgMark Shapiro arrived to Goodyear one month ago today. This morning, he met with the media to talk about his impressions of the first month of camp and his thoughts with three and a half weeks remaining before the opener.

Here’s a sampling of what he had to say, with a full story to come on Indians.com this afternoon…

  • General thoughts: “I’ve been very happy with most of what’s happened in camp. But if you had to point to one area of concern, it would still be the rotation.”
  • Shapiro likes the way Fausto Carmona is leveraging the ball, he believes Carl Pavano is on track to be a veteran, stabilizing starter, and he’s encouraged by Anthony Reyes’ stuff and health. But Shapiro, like everybody else, is waiting for somebody to step up and take the No. 5 job.
  • At this stage, he puts very little stock in spring numbers, especially in the Arizona conditions. He pointed to Scott Lewis’ outing yesterday (2 1/3 innings, 4R, 3H, 2BB, 2K) as a prime example of an impressive appearance thrown awry by one or two bad pitches.
  • Trevor Crowe, Wes Hodges, Carlos Santana, Hector Rondon, Chris Gimenez, Luis Valbuena, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley have all made a very favorable impression, and Shapiro expects this team to rely on that depth. “This is the best layer of talent we’ve had here in a long, long time.”
  • Crowe is not only battling for the final bench spot but also the fourth outfield spot. But that latter spot is still David Dellucci’s to lose, and Shapiro likes what he’s seen from Dellucci (3-for-8, a homer, a double and two walks) since his return from the thumb injury.
  • The extended camp has been nice from the standpoint of getting young players more looks, but it’s made evaluation difficult. He said it’s tough to know when to start cutting guys — a process that ordinarily would have begun by now.
  • Another downside to the long camp: “We already went through a bunch of nicks and bruises and scrapes that kept a bunch of guys off the field. Now we’re almost completely back to full health, but there’s enough time to go through it again. That’s how long we’re here for.”
  • Speaking of health, he was really happy to see Victor Martinez hit back-to-back home runs on Feb. 27 and really happy to see Travis Hafner “nearly decapitate” Jered Weaver with a liner up the middle yesterday. “When you don’t see those things for a long time, it affects you emotionally.” 
  • On that front, he talked about defense, and he said fans and writers are often so emotionally affected by Jhonny Peralta’s inability to get to the occassional grounder up the middle that we ignore his ability to field every routine ball. Our response? Hey, we were emotionally affected long before Jhonny Peralta came into our lives.
  • The Indians use four metrics to evaluate defense. One of them is John Dewan’s Fielding Bible, which I’ve often referenced here, another is internal, and he wouldn’t reveal the two others. But he noted that objective analysis of defensive play is always imperfect.
  • He’s been impressed with Ryan Garko in the outfield and beyond. “[Garko] deserves some credit. He was the first guy through the doors of this place in October and the most consistent guy here all winter long. He clearly has worked with a sense of determination."

~AC

A life of leisure and a pirate's treasure don't make much for tragedy

milton4.jpgAh, the first off day of the spring. It is finally here, and I plan to soak it up like a real Arizonian — 18 holes of golf in the morning, laying by the pool in the afternoon (hopefully there won’t be any big grains of salt floating in my margarita), and a little wining and dining at night.

That’s the plan, at least. Sometimes these things have a way of deviating into sitting on the couch watching “Wonder Years” reruns.

Hey, either way, it’s OK.

But before I flick the switch, let’s give you the requisite news and notes from before, during and after today’s game against the Cubs.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Now it sounds like Grady Sizemore (sore left groin) won’t be in Friday’s lineup. Rather, the Indians will test out his legs by having him do some running and shag work. He’ll then be evaluated Saturday. He could be in the lineup then or early next week.
  • Cliff Lee, Travis Hafner and David Dellucci are all a go for Friday. That is, assuming Lee isn’t too dizzy from his F-16 trial.
  • How does Mark Shapiro feel about his Cy Young winner breaking the sound barrier? “As long as he’s not the one flying [the F-16], I’m OK with it,” he said. Lee should be in good hands. 
  • A couple weeks back, I told you Fausto Carmona was looking a little plump in the gut. He appears to have tamed that little issue — the last thing the Indians need is another abdominal/oblique strain for a prominent member of their starting rotation — for the time being. “I lost a couple pounds,” he said today. “I don’t know how many, but I feel better now.”
  • Pitching coach Carl Willis said Carmona will need to be careful in that department: “He has to watch it, because, if it gets away from him, he could get behind the eight ball really quick."
  • As for Carmona's performance, he was a little more erratic this time than the last, but he still turned in two scoreless innings.
  • Carl Pavano had a rough one -- three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in two innings. But he maintains that he feels great.
  • Juan Salas got the save today and has now pitched two scoreless innings in garbage time. "He has a lot of action on the plate and a loose arm," Wedge said.
  • Big, Bad Beau Mills went deep with a two-run shot off Chad Gaudin in the first inning. Wedge was really impressed with the way Mills carried himself last year in camp, and that opinion hasn't changed. "He still needs a lot of work at first base," Wedge said. "But with his aptitude, he'll pick it up quick."
  • Jensen Lewis is off to a much better start this year than last. His velocity appears to be where it needs to be this time of year, and he's rattled off three scoreless innings in three appearances.
  • Still waiting for "No Line on the Horizon" to grow on me, but I agree with the reader who spoke fondly of "Magnificent." Good track. One of the few on there.

~AC

I have to get up and climb that hill again

The Indians last played at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in 1992. The concourse and press box have been renovated since then. The mountains in the distance, on the other hand, haven't moved.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Not sure what to make of the news that Adam Miller has soreness in his right middle finger. Frankly, you take any negative news regarding Miller's physical condition at its worst and work your way down from there. His history has allowed no other perspective. For now, Eric Wedge insists this is nothing major, but I'll provide another update on his condition Sunday.
  • As reported in that Miller story, Travis Hafner and David Dellucci are both expected to join in on the Cactus action later in the coming week. The non-injured Cliff Lee will also make his first start around that time.
  • Apparently the pitchers are now ahead of the hitters, as there was a grand total of six hits today between the Indians and A's.
  • Carl Pavano looked good today -- as good as you can look the first time out. He threw two perfect innings, getting five groundball outs. When asked the last time he felt this good, he replied, "I don't know if I can think back that far."
  • Scott Lewis also pitched well in two scoreless innings. He hit a batter to open one inning and walked a guy to open the other but worked his way out of trouble each time. "The game doesn't speed up on him," Eric Wedge said of Lewis. "He does a good job staying in his tempo and his routine."
  • Matt Cassel, better known as Jack Cassel's brother, was traded from the Patriots to the Chiefs today.
  • Single-game tickets are now on sale for all the Indians' home games. You can get them right here. If you buy four or more tickets today or tomorrow, you get a free Grady Sizemore fleece blanket (and, for the person who asked, it's a different blanket than the one given out at the games last year).
  • Wedge has been impressed with what he's seen from right-hander Hector Rondon, who worked a scoreless eighth. "He has a live arm and a good fastball," Wedge said. Rondon went 11-6 with a 3.60 ERA in 27 starts at Class A Kinston last year and was added to the 40-man roster at season's end.
  • Happy birthday to Indians PR director Bart Swain.

~AC

From the churches to the jails, tonight all is silence in the world

It's a low-key Sunday at the PDC.

 

Oh, for the record, I'm taking the advice of one reader and, from this point forward, referring to the Cleveland Indians Player Development Complex as the PDC. I figure over the course of a seven-week spring camp, this little abbreviation will save me two minutes and one second of typing time, and I plan to spend that 2:01 doing something much more productive - like, say, watching this.

 

(Quick digression: Did you know they've sold more than four million Snuggies? Recession? What recession?)

 

(Quick digression No. 2: My buddy Tobin, however, rails against the Snuggie as a blatant ripoff of the Slanket, which he purchased about four years ago... for $70! When I teased him about the price, he made the astute comment that the first guy to buy a CD player probably didn't care about the price, either. He simply had the foresight to know a great product when he saw it. Hard to dispute that.)

 

Anyway, position players officially reported today -- even though virtually all of them were already here. On the back fields, pitchers and catchers held their second workout.

 

Now, I know some of you might someday visit the PDC, so I’ve been trying to look at this new place from a fan’s perspective. Anyone who visited Chain of Lakes Park knows what a special spot that was to get up close and personal with the team. You could hang out by the weight room, you could walk amongst players headed to the practice fields and you could wait by the Tribe’s bullpen during and after games to get easy access for autographs.

 

The Goodyear facility, as expected, isn’t nearly as accommodating. But there is an area to the side of Field No. 6 where fans can meander freely. A few of them were hanging out there yesterday, and several players stopped to sign between drills. I’m not sure what kind of access fans will have at the ballpark. We’ll see when the games start.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

 

  • More PFPs and bullpen sessions today. I get paid to watch baseball, and, believe me, I know this is a privilege. But the list of things I’d rather watch than PFPs includes a wide variety of eye-sores, including but not limited to “Weekend at Bernie’s II” (I did that just to satisfy the handful of you who still e-mail me about “Weekend at Bernie’s II,” three years after the joke went cold… not that it was ever warm.)
     
  • As for the bullpens, 13 guys threw this morning, including Kerry Wood and Carl Pavano, who made what I’d guess you’d call their first official appearances in front of the Tribe brass. Wood is listed at 6-foot-5, 211 pounds, while Pavano is listed at 6-foot-5, 240. Sometimes the media guide listings are exaggerations, but not here. They both look healthy and strong. “You put Wood and Pavano together,” Eric Wedge said, “and you’ve got two big-league bodies right there.”
     
  • Speaking of healthy and strong, Adam Miller threw today, and he also looked good. He said the only restriction he’ll probably have in camp is throwing on back-to-back days at the outset.
     
  • I’m no scout, but I know a sweet swing when I see one, and Carlos Santana has got one.
     
  • Left-hander Ryan Edell threw today. He’s a guy who has flown under the radar a bit, but he spent all of last season in the Double-A Akron rotation and went 7-8 with a 3.80 ERA in 26 starts. What’s most impressive is that he struck out 99 and walked just 21 in 144 1/3 innings. His ability to paint the plate with strikes is considered his greatest strength, and he can work it in to right-handers. He’ll remain in a starting role, but if he has a big-league future, it’s probably in the ‘pen.

 

~AC

"I was in there for two minutes… touch this, feel that, 75 bucks"

Let's get physical(s).

 

A few players just headed out to the ballpark to take some early batting practice, and a few guys are playing catch. But the main thing shaking today at the Indians Player Development Complex are the annual physical examinations of pitchers and catchers.

 

It's the usual rundown of eye, ear, nose, throat exams. Turn your head and cough. Touch your toes. Step on this scale. All that good stuff.

 

One guy spared from a good portion of this was Kerry Wood, who, as you might remember, was subjected to an "all-inclusive" physical before his deal with the Tribe became official in December.

 

"I got a hall pass," Wood said with a smile. "I just had my physical not too long ago."

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • In addition to the physicals, players are having their annual sit-downs with manager Eric Wedge and general manager Mark Shapiro. They are told, essentially, where they stand in the organization, their odds of making the team and what's expected of them this year.
  • I don't know if Carl Pavano got a bad rap or if he's had a change of life or what, but the general consenus around here is that he is, for lack of a better term, a Grade A dude. I can back up this consensus based on my first encounter with Pavano, who not only was a fine interview but even offered up a local restaurant recommendation. He said he's not at all bitter about the way the media treated him in New York (where "American Idle" came to be his nickname), and we had a nice conversation about the type of "comes with the territory" uncomfortability that can sprout up between reporter and player. He knows we have a job to do, and he knows he didn't get the job done as a Yankee. And if he's at all upset with the way he was portrayed in Joe Torre's book, he's not showing it.
  • Jhonny Peralta played third base in all but one game in the Dominican this winter. He said he likes that the position doesn't require him to move around much (I'm sure more than a few Tribe fans just nodded their head in agreement), but he did have some trouble with his throws and fielding bunt plays. He said he has "no problem" with the concept of moving to third eventually in his career, but, for now, he views himself as a shortstop.
  • A few people have written in wondering what Kerry Wood's entrance music will be this season. He said he'll probably stick with the Guns N' Roses classic, "Welcome to the Jungle," which he used in Chicago. When I mentioned that some fans would prefer he go with "Wild Thing" (of "Major League" fame, of course), he said, "I'm trying to avoid being wild." The guy did strike out 84 and walk 18 last year, so Guns N' Roses it is.
  • You might remember last spring as the spring Masa Kobayashi made his first foray into American life and became instantly enamored with Wal-Mart. Yesterday I asked his interpreter, Toshi Nagahara, if Masa had made his way to the Goodyear Wal-Mart yet, and Nagahara said, "He was there the first day." Sure enough, I step into the local Supercenter after leaving the complex yesterday, and there's Masa at the express line.
  • I haven't seen every nook and cranny of the complex yet, but so far my favorite part has to be the gigantic photo of Brandon Phillips outside the Goodyear Ballpark.

~AC

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